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.


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