Religion and politics are traditionally taboo topics for conversation, and age is completely off the table. But in 2009, Sandra Bullock parlayed all three subjects into one of the best years of her career. “The Proposal,” in which Bullock played a pushy older exec who coerces her younger assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into marriage, grossed $317 million worldwide, becoming Bullock’s first No. 1 film in 10 years and re-establishing her as a romantic-comedy powerhouse. “The Blind Side,” in which Bullock’s Leigh Anne Tuohy was an unabashed Christian Republican, won her a best actress Oscar, and, incidentally, made the actress a darling of religious-oriented audiences.
If not for some messy domestic issues (specifically, her much-publicized divorce from the tattooed tele-biker Jesse James), it might well have been her favorite year. It certainly was for Bullock fans, who had long admired her a combination of cute-but-sassy allure, girlish athleticism and self-deprecating humor.
Although “Speed” (1994) was the breakthrough for Bullock, it was “While You Were Sleeping” that established all those Bullock-ian qualities that made Sandra Sandra: As Lucy Moderatz, a lonely fare collector on Chicago’s elevated transit line, she fantasized about Peter Gallagher’s soon-to-be-comatose Peter Callaghan but fell in love with his less-flashy but more substantial brother (played by Bill Pullman). The moral — embodied in the story and personified by Bullock — was that goodness begets goodness. Audiences loved it. And Bullock, too.
With multiple projects in production, Sandra Bullock seems to be thriving at a point in time when many of her contemporaries are falling by the wayside.