Saturday, February 6, 2016

2009: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock plays a wealthy, privileged woman who welcomes into her home, and eventually adopts, a homeless teenager who attends school with her children and turns out to be an exceptional football player.

Overall, Bullock's performance is quite good. She has several biting lines that she delivers with the perfect expression and intonation. She exudes self-confidence in her walk, her posture, her voice, and all her other mannerisms, which is exactly what the role requires. Her interactions with her husband and children are very realistic, and she basically sets the tone for their family dynamic. But the most outstanding aspect of her performance, which is also by far the best aspect of the movie, is the way Bullock interacts with Quinton Aaron, whose performance I would also call Oscar-worthy, but who wasn't even nominated.

Both Bullock and Aaron do an extraordinary job of making their interactions and developing relationship believable, despite having hardly anything in common. At the beginning, he barely speaks at all, providing significant contrast to her extremely chatty character. I like the way she draws him out without pushing too hard, while conveying to the audience how difficult it is for her to not push harder. The two of them come from very different backgrounds, and each very convincingly conveys how foreign the other's lifestyle is. Perhaps the best example of this is her reaction when he casually mentions that he's never had a bed before. For once she has no idea what to say. Her confusion and the tears that follow after she leaves the room could have easily been over-the-top, but instead seem quite genuine. This is a common element of most of their interactions: she clearly cares about him a lot, but she doesn't overdo it. And that's what I think earned her the Oscar.

Most of Bullock's career seems to consist of romantic comedies, which hasn't gotten her much Oscar recognition, despite the fact that she's very good in them. This was her first nomination, and so far she's only received one more, for 2013's Gravity, which she did not win. But that wasn't very long ago, so there's a very real possibility that she'll receive more nominations in the future.

Next up: Natalie Portman

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