24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock's reps: 'Most Wanted' is not the actress' next film

June 8, 2010 |  7:45 pm

On Monday we joined many others in writing that Sandra Bullock has signed on to her first movie since winning an Oscar, an action-comedy at Universal titled "Most Wanted" on which she'll reunite with Ryan Reynolds and the creative team from "The Proposal." 

The news was greeted with a flurry of reaction, including own own response that the film seemed like an unusual priority for someone who had just finished reinventing herself, at least to a certain degree, as a more serious dramatic actress.

On Tuesday her representatives made clear that the film wasn't a priority after all.

In a statement to 24 Frames, Bullock's agent made a point of noting that "Most Wanted" was in very early development and that Bullock would most certainly shoot something else before this movie, if she shoots it at all. "[Bullock] is simply attached to the project, which is currently in development. This is not her next film,” said Creative Artists Agency managing partner Kevin Huvane, who represents the actress. Indeed, the project is a pitch with no script -- writer Peter Chiarelli will set about writing it now -- and if that script comes in and doesn't meet with Bullock's approval, the actress has a clear out not to make the film.

Bullocksa Huvane went on to leave the door open even more. "There are several projects of many different genres that Ms. Bullock is presently considering and has not committed to any of them at this time.

"The next project that will follow her Oscar will be chosen carefully and with a great deal of thought," he added.

Part of the response seemed like the typical agency reaction to a casting leak. Representatives often downplay an attachment because they want to avoid looking like a client is getting booked up, thus scaring off other studios and producers with whom they are in discussions.

But there is a sense that  something deeper was going on -- a sense that Bullock and her team genuinely want to to do something more than just replicate a success they've already had, and emphasizing "Most Wanted" flies in the face of that goal.

Of course, it's still fair to analyze that attempted replication -- this is, after all, the first attachment for Bullock since she won an Oscar, and the microscope always comes out for that. It's just that, with another higher-priority attachment coming down the road, the microscope may have reason to come out again

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Sandra Bullock at the 82nd annual Oscars. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.

With Sandra Bullock's new role, hope sinks

June 7, 2010 |  5:15 pm

So this is what all the fuss was about?

When Sandra Bullock landed her first Oscar nomination, then her first win, for her performance in "The Blind Side" this winter, the speculation in Hollywood was that she could (and likely would) take on a meatier role. Could it be a character drama? A sly satire? Long seen as the ingenue who could handle mainly the commercial stuff like romantic and action comedies, Bullock finally had her choice of anything on the menu.

So when the news broke earlier today that her first role since the Oscar would be the co-lead in "Most Wanted," an action-comedy from Universal that will see her re-teaming with Ryan Reynolds in a story about a criminal (Bullock) and cop (Reynolds) on the run, shoulders sagged and eyebrows shot up. You get a magic ticket and this is how you use it? On a movie that puts you back squarely in territory of "The Proposal" (with which Bullock also starred in a high jinks-heavy situation with Reynolds) or "Miss Congeniality," another broad comedy with fugitive elements?

The whole point of doing a movie like "The Proposal" or "Miss Congeniality" is that you don't have to do another "The Proposal' or "Miss Congeniality." Certainly after a best actress win, you don't immediately go back to the  multiplex ghetto from which an Oscar had just helped you escape, right?

When we interviewed Bullock during Oscar season, she told us that she was intent on branching out. "I want everything. I want action. I want comedy. I want thrillers," she told 24 Frames. Reading this in retrospect, it's clear that she does want everything -- if by "everything" one means "everything she's done before."

Yes yes, we can hear you writing in already. Bullock can make whatever films she wants, actor self-empowerment and all that. And yes, of course she can. But why would she? If you've made a dozen movies in a similar vein, and the you have a chance to do something different, you don't go back to what you've been doing before, do you? Even Jim Carrey scratched that itch when he had the chance.

Bullock has been on a kind of PR re-positioning since the infidelity scandal of estranged husband Jesse James surfaced. Her strategy, as Moveline notes in this acerbically on-point piece, has been to acknowledge the scandal and then turn away from it with talk of some global disaster. It's kind of a brilliant play, since it changes the subject without seeming to avoid it.

Maybe this "Most Wanted" move is part of the same gambit, a chance to restore our perception of Bullock to a pre-scandal time. That's fine. The only problem is that it seems to restore her career to a pre-Oscar time as well.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in "The Proposal." Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.

Sandra Bullock-Jesse James question: Do Oscars cause divorces?

March 19, 2010 |  7:27 pm

No disrespect to our former colleague Nicole LaPorte, typically a sharp thinker and strong writer, but her story in The Daily Beast this week suggesting a causal relationship between winning an Oscar and marriages falling apart seemed like a textbook case of false deductions and selective reasoning.

It's not just her, of course. The idea of an Oscar curse has been making its way around Hollywood, with a certain veneer of credibility, over the last few days.

With allegations percolating that Jesse James carried on a nearly year-long affair while wife Sandra Bullock was away shooting "The Blind Side," it's fashionable to ask if Oscar attention can cause the marriage blues.  The hypothesis: the Oscars, like some kind of entertainment-world Sports Illustrated cover, come with a jinx. Once you win a statuette, the odds of your marriage failing increase significantly.

As Laporte writes: "It's not a total shocker that just days after Sandra Bullock won her first Academy Award, and professed to Barbara Walters how much she loved her husband, biker bad boy Jesse James, reports surfaced that James has, rather, been going behind Bullock's back with a tattoo model."

She continues: "James wouldn't be the first plus one to act up when the limelight shines a little too brightly on his spouse — particularly when that success involves a little golden man." She cites several former couples, and Oscar winners, as evidence, including Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, and Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe.

Continue reading »

Oscar liveblog: Sandra Bullock's moment

March 7, 2010 |  8:56 pm

Oscars Sandra Bullock 8:44 pm: Oprah Winfrey's nod to Gabourey Sidibe not as treacly as it could be (though interesting to hear her describe "Precious" as "our movie" when she came on long after the movie was finished). Stanley Tucci steals the show, as he often does, with his facetious description of Streep and her "selfishness" in grabbing Oscar nominations. But she doesn't grab a win -- that goes to Bullock -- and Streep's O'Toole-ian streak at the Oscars continues.

In her speech, Bullock nods to her persistent campaigning with a "Did I really earn this or did I just wear y'all down?" then goes into a mode we've indeed seen many times this season -- wiseacre (quip about Meryl Streep kiss and a reference to the time "George Clooney threw me in a pool") turning to sentimental. We're ready for her backstage, where we'll probably get ... more of the former.

So the academy gives what's essentially a lifetime achievement award to Jeff Bridges for a role that deserves it all on its own but doesn't do the same for Streep in a role that perhaps deserves it a little bit (but not that much) less.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Sandra Bullock. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Sandra Bullock, warming up for the Oscars

March 7, 2010 |  3:09 pm

Before the Oscars fun gets under way, this doozy of a Razzies speech from Sandra Bullock last night. Something tells us her Oscar acceptance address will sound a little different.

Sandra Bullock, 'Transformers' are winners (of a sort) at Razzies

March 7, 2010 |  1:10 am


No matter what happens at the Academy Awards Sunday night, best actress nominee Sandra Bullock is a winner this weekend – although not necessarily in the way aspiring young actors might dream of.

Bullock, who drew raves for her performance in “The Blind Side,” was honored twice Saturday night for something else altogether at the 30th annual Razzie Awards, which good-naturedly tweak Hollywood every Oscar weekend for all the films it cranked out the previous year at the other end of the quality spectrum.

In Bullock’s case it was “All About Steve,” the comedy that cast her as a lovesick stalker and earned her honors as worst actress and worst screen couple (with Bradley Cooper).

It could have been worse for Bullock, though. “All About Steve,” which she helped produce, also was Transformerscrop nominated as worst picture but that (dis)honor went instead to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which wound up as the night’s big winner (or loser, depending on your point of view), collecting Razzies for worst director (Michael Bay) and worst screenplay (Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman).

In ceremonies at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood, other awards went to siblings Joe, Kevin and Nick Jonas, who collectively were named worst actor for “Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience”; Sienna Miller for her supporting role in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”;  Billy Ray Cyrus for his supporting role in “Hannah  Montana: The Movie”; and “Land of the Lost” for worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel.

The Razzies are presented by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation based on ballots sent by founder John Wilson to 657 journalists, industry workers and fans.

--Lee Margulies

Photo: Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper in "All About Steve." Credit: Suzanne Tenner / Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Credit: Paramount Pictures

Predicting Oscar: Best bets for best picture

March 5, 2010 |  7:00 am

GraphicMuch like erratic swings in the stock market, the fates and fortunes of films in the Oscar race rise and fall with each passing awards show and critic's top 10 list.

A closer look at the winners from the film awards handed out so far this season would seem to indicate a clear favorite for best picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday: "The Hurt Locker."

The Kathryn Bigelow-directed film has been nominated by each of eight major industry guilds and critics groups that we looked at for the chart at left -- and it won half of the top honors.

The next closest competitor: "Up in the Air," with two wins and nominations from all but one group.

"Precious," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Avatar," ranked by number of nominations by the eight groups, round out the top five in the newly expanded field of 10 best picture nominees.

Down at the bottom of the list, with no nods among the eight groups: "The Blind Side," starring acting nominee Sandra Bullock. But just like the whims of the financial markets, you can never count a movie out until the final bell sounds.

-- Brady MacDonald


L.A. Times reviews of the 10 best picture nominees:

* The Hurt Locker
* Up in the Air
* Precious
* Inglourious Basterds
* Avatar
* An Education
* A Serious Man
* Up
* District 9
* The Blind Side

L.A. Times award show coverage:
* Critics' Choice
* Producers Guild
* National Board of Review
* Golden Globes
* Directors Guild
* Writers Guild
* Screen Actors Guild
* American Film Institute

Sandra Bullock's Oscar campaign, at once brilliant and goofy

February 25, 2010 |  6:25 pm

As Oscar ballots come due early next week, Sandra Bullock is continuing her inexorable march to the Kodak Theatre podium. 

Bullock Bullock's tour de force performance as Southern spitfire Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side" -- aided by the fact that she appears in nearly every scene, as opposed to the other front-runner, Meryl Streep, who is in roughly half of "Julie & Julia"-- continues to carry weight with voters; an informal poll of strategists  has her as the winner of the lead actress Oscar. It's hard to disagree. The Tuohy mother character that Bullock takes on is a great role, and she executes it perfectly.

Streep, on the other hand, has been as quiet as Bullock has been outspoken, barely making appearances on the awards circuit and infrequently addressing the media when she does.

But Bullock has benefited from Streep's absence, specifically from the faux rivalry she created with the blond one -- like the time she claimed to Tavis Smiley she would throw her shoe at Streep at the Golden Globes. Or the dead flowers Bullock says Streep sent her after Bullock won a best actress prize at said Globes. And let's not even get in to that weird kiss at the Critics Choice.

It's been a savvy tack for Bullock and publicist Cheryl Maisel, simultaneously keeping the actress in the public eye while also subtly painting her as the underdog. But what Bullock creates, she takes away. After cultivating the rivalry subplot for several weeks, she took an abruptly different tone when we caught up with her after the Oscar nominee luncheon last week.

"We've done it. We did it. It had its moments," she said when asked if there would be more coming on the theme. "Those are always unexpected [dramas] but if you keep it up it's just plain annoying."

A moment later, we began a question by mentioning Streep's performance.

Bullock: "Don't try to pit Meryl and I [said in a playful/sarcastic tone -- we think]. Go away from that. Move away."

24 Frames: "But you guys are the two favorites!"

Bullock: "There's five wonderful favorites. There's five completely different performances, all deserving. Someone's going to walk away with it. Everyone else is going to be happy for her."

(Sandy, we liked it better when you weren't pretending that everyone's a winner.)

How this shift will play probably won't matter. Bullock's decision to play ball with awards voters has resonated with them, even if it's spelled a kind of Sandra-Bullock-is-stalking-me ubiquity that's reminiscent of Mickey Rourke's omnipresence last year, with Streep playing the role of Sean Penn.

It's recently seemed unnecessary for Bullock to be so visible -- since the nominations came out, one couldn't turn on a late-night or morning show or, for that matter, Mario Lopez on "Entertainment Tonight," without seeing her -- when she was almost certainly going to win anyway.

Which may be why Bullock's taking her foot off the pedal now. She's no longer the underdog, and reminding voters too often of her performance could come off as confidence, not humility. Besides, the mostly silent response from Streep has given the whole enterprise an eerily lopsided feeling, with Bullock like a girl who badly wants a friend to come out and play but, having been unable to convince that friend, just pretends they're there anyway.

Streep, incidentally, has done herself no favors with her relative silence. Her approach has sometimes felt like the campaign two years ago for "Away From Her" star Julie Christie, who stayed quiet and out of Los Angeles for long stretches of the season while "La Vie en Rose" star Marian Cotillard diligently worked the circuit.

It also hasn't gotten the message out that Streep, for all the Oscar nomination love she's received, has been a bridesmaid so many times.  "The problem with best actress is that you can give it to Meryl Streep every year," "Blind Side" producer Andrew Kosove said the morning the nominations were announced. "She’s the best actress in the world. It’s like Tiger Woods in a golf tournament -- eventually someone else has to be allowed to win.”

Actually, someone has -- for the past 28 years. Yes, Streep hasn't won an Oscar since 1982, when she took home the statuette for "Sophie's Choice." Since then she's been nominated 11 times but never come home with a prize, a streak to rival all-time lucky losers such as Peter O'Toole and Paul Newman.

That could have been a play for the Streep camp and those running her campaign at 42West (who did not reply to an inquiry for this post): Make it seem as if this is finally her year, the way campaigners did so brilliantly for Martin Scorsese with "The Departed" in 2006.

Instead, they didn't really get the word out. And without that -- and with the Bullock campaign working the underdog angle so wisely -- we'll probably see the former Miss Congeniality take the stage a week from Sunday. Which will probably bring out one more sarcastic/tear-filled speech. Just don't ask her about Meryl Streep.

--Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Sandra Bullock. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press

Sandra Bullock, Kathryn Bigelow and others riff on a day of Oscar

February 2, 2010 |  6:08 pm

It’s been one of those days when the calls keep coming in from Oscar nominees – producers, directors, performers (although more from actresses than actors, curiously). We’ve been collecting them all day – from how Sandra Bullock really felt about “The Blind Side” when she first heard about the film to the advice Tom Hanks gave Gabourey Sidibe. A few choicer statements:

Bu Kathryn Bigelow on, essentially, enough with the female-director talk: "I long personally for the day when that modifier [women director] is a moot point. I anticipate that day will come. I think we’re close. If 'The Hurt Locker' or the attention that it’s getting can make the impossible seem possible to somebody, it’s pretty overwhelming and gratifying. At least we’re heading in the right direction."

Sandra Bullock on why  "Blind Side" was so resonant: "I have no idea. No one wanted to make the film. We made the film for a little amount of money.  [When I was first approached] I didn’t see it. I didn’t know how to make it my own. That’s why I kept saying no. The reason there’s this monumental chord that’s been struck is because of John Lee Hancock. He knew the story he wanted to tell. He wanted to tell a story of a mother and son."

And producer Andrew Kosove on Bullock: "Sandra] or Meryl Streep will win best actress. The problem with best actress is that you can give it to Meryl Streep every year. She’s the best actress in the world. It’s like Tiger Woods in a golf tournament — eventually someone else has to be allowed to win."

"Up" writer-director Pete Docter has been nominated four times – but it still gives him butterflies:  "I’ve been to the Oscars before. It’s always a little nerve-racking. Half your brain is going. 'I can’t  believe I’m here. I'm just a geeky kid who likes to draw cartoons, and here I am among the Hollywood elite.' And then there's the other part, the pit in your stomach hoping against hope that you can win."

Gabourey Sidibe on what it’s like to be nominated for an Oscar in her first feature: "I think it’s a crazy world we live in. Anything is possible in America. And possibly Canada too…. The best advice came from Tom Hanks. He told me [award season] is a series of silly parties. And that I should get comfortable shoes. He was right. I do need them."

Vera Farmiga on whether actors in "Avatar" or performances in other motion-capture pictures deserve Oscar recognition. "I’d actually have to study a process or be a part of a film like that and [see] how much more is embellished computer-wise. I don’t see why not. I think it’s legitimate performance. I don’t discredit it in any way because it’s translated by a computer."

-- Steven Zeitchik, Chris Lee, Rachel Abramowitz and Amy Kaufman


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: