Over the course of her career, Sandra Bullock has proved that she can excel in both comedic and drama roles. Here are nine of the most memorable films from the Oscar-winning actress.
It’s hard to think of the trajectory of Bullock’s career without immediately thinking of the 1994 thriller Speed. Starring Bullock alongside the likes of Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels, the movie proved the actress’s ability to shine alongside already established movie stars. In the film, Bullock played Annie Porter, a passenger who ends up taking control of a runaway bus rigged with bombs that will explode should it drop below 50 mph. It’s now one of her most memorable roles, but she almost lost the part twice. Producers reportedly originally had Ellen DeGeneres slated for the part. When that fell through, executives at Fox tried to push for a more well-known, A-list actress. Luckily, director Jan de Bont refused to give in and the rest is history.
The Blind Side
Bullock gave one of her best performances to date in this 2009 semi-biographical sports drama. Though the movie did well at the box office with over $300 million in earnings, it was Bullock’s moving portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, a hardworking mom who takes in a troubled teen and ends up helping turn into a football star, that (rightly) garnered most of the attention. The movie helped Bullock prove that she is more then capable of tackling roles against her type. But most notably? The actress won her first ever Oscar for the part.
Bullock starred opposite George Clooney in the 2013 space adventure film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The movie earned critical acclaim, with reviewers singling out Bullock’s performance in particular as some of the best work of her career. Her turn was of Dr. Ryan Stone, a biomedical engineer on her first space mission, who is left adrift in orbit after a catastrophe destroys her shuttle. Gravity took in $715 million at the box office worldwide, making it Bullock’s most successful picture to date. It also earned her another Best Actress nomination at the Oscars.
The actress put her comic chops on display in this 2000 comedy in which she plays Gracie Hart, an FBI agent who goes undercover as a beauty queen in the Miss America Pageant. The movie raked in more than $212 million at the box office, turning Bullock into America’s sweetheart and cementing her status as one of industry’s most bankable stars. It also earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy.
The 2004 Oscar-winning film stars an ensemble cast chockfull of prominent actors, and while Bullock’s part may be small, it’s just as memorable as some of the bigger ones in her career. Built around several interspersing stories, the movie features Bullock as Jean Cabot, the wife of a successful district attorney who harbors racial paranoia, partly due to a past robbery. Bullock showcased her ability to stand out among a crowd of movie stars, bringing the controversial character to life with her impressive performance. The movie also proved that she isn’t one to shy away from sensitive and socially charged roles.
It may have earned mixed reviews from critics, but it’s hard to resist this 2013 buddy cop comedy, especially since it featured two of Hollywood’s most high-profile and beloved stars. That’s probably why it became the second highest grossing comedy of the year, earning around $230 million at the box office. After taking on a couple of dramatic roles in a row, the movie also reminded the audience that Bullock can hold her own against a comedic force like Melissa McCarthy.
Bullock kicked off a mostly banner year (we’d like to forget about All About Steve) with this 2009 hit comedy, featuring her opposite Ryan Reynolds. In the film, she plays a tough-as-nails book editor, who forces her assistant (Reynolds) to marry her in order to avoid deportation back to her native Canada. The premise is far from original and critics weren’t exactly thrilled with the script, but Bullock earned praise for her on-screen chemistry with Reynolds and her skillful physical comedy. Plus, having earned $317.4 million worldwide, the movie marked another box office hit during an already notable streak for Bullock.
While You Were Sleeping
After the success of Speed, Bullock starred in a string of memorable mid-nineties flicks. One of the most standout of these roles? Her part in this 1995 Jon Turteltaub-directed romantic comedy, in which she plays Lucy Moderatz, a lonely fare token collector who ends up saving the life of a commuter she had a crush on. The movie received widely positive reviews and was a box office success, grossing over $182 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. It also earned Bullock a Golden Globe award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy.
In this 1998 romantic drama, Bullock plays an unassertive housewife whose life is turned upside down after her husband reveals he’s having an affair on a talk show. Though the movie was lambasted by critics, it remains a guilty pleasure for many viewers, who sympathized with Bullock’s no-frills performance as the heartbroken wife. The role also helped solidify the public’s perception of the actress as both a star and the appealing girl next door.