Sandra Bullock, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress portraying a complex, generous woman in the 2010 hit The Blind Side, turned 50 this weekend. And if 50 is the new 40–or whatever fanciful new age equation is popular this week–then Sandra Bullock certainly embodies the notion. Past the the midway point of her forties by the time she took home Oscar, Bullock has made a career of steady excellence. (Steady is not slow–there was her breakout role in Speed!) As a result Bullock moves through Hollywood with an autonomy and power that remains strangely rare for women in the movie business. In addition to lighting up the screen, Sandra Bullock has become an enormously successful producer. And she has achieved it all while maintaining a disposition that matches the title of one of her most purely delightful films, Miss Congeniality.
Bullock is both very lucky and extremely smart. The luck she’ll be the first to admit–since her intelligence and confidence make her comfortable with the fact that good fortune plays a role in the success of any actor. (Ellen DeGeneres was the original choice in Speed, for example.) But one thing Sandra Bullock movies nearly always do is make money–and that’s not luck. That’s smart choices and great performances. It also happyily means we’ll keep getting Sandra Bullock movies! The Blind Side, Speed, The Proposal, Miss Congeniality, The Heat, and Gravity all made more than $200 million, many of them more than $300 million. The movie website The Numbers reports that Bullock films have together grossed over $3 billion worldwide. Bullock turns 50 as a true exemplar of how to age gracefully. Rocky relationships have not knocked her off course, and her drive remains powerful. Expect her to be around a very long time. Who knows, 30 some years from now she may even take away an accolade that an equally gracious actress, Jessica Tandy, has held for a quarter century. Tandy is the oldest performer to have won the Oscar for Best Actress, winning at age 82 for Driving Miss Daisy. It’s something we hope Sandra Bullock will shoot for.