October 22, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Sandra Bullock should cap banner year with an Oscar nod

Few actors had as productive a year as Sandra Bullock. News broke this morning that the star of both a summer-smash-hit (“The Proposal”) and an awards hopeful (“The Blind Side”) has been voted the Top Money-Making Star of 2009 in Quigley Publishing Company’s 78th Annual Poll of Exhibitors. The last female star to earn that distinction was Julia Roberts in 1999.

It has been a banner year for Bullock, who even released an underperforming comedy (“All About Steve”) yet still triumphed over the competition. And it likely doesn’t stop here. My guess? Bullock’s “cherry on top” will be her first Oscar nomination for her commendable performance as strong-willed, Southern matriarch Leigh Ann Tuohy in “The Blind Side.”

Bullock has displayed impressive range this year, sculpting “America’s Sweetheart” into an ice queen for “The Proposal” instead of coasting on her bankable charms. But the control she exerts as a well-to-do socialite assisting an orphaned black teenager (gentle giant Quinton Aaron) reminds us of her skill as an actress. With ballots in hand, I’m willing to bet more than enough Sandra supporters either enjoyed her in “The Proposal” or were moved by her in “The Blind Side” to place her the mix of an otherwise weak Best Actress field.

The Academy has a tendency to honor a body of work with its nominations (and wins) over individual performances. Bullock’s resume has been solid, her year has been historic, and her first trip to the Kodak Theater as an Oscar nominee should come later this year.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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