Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Bullock triumphant! Brangelina in trouble?

Events at the Screen Actors Guild this weekend confirmed one of the odder cinematic developments of 2009. Sandra Bullock picked up the SAG best actress award for her performance in The Blind Side — some blubby American foorball thing — …

Sun, Jan 24, 2010, 23:42

   

Events at the Screen Actors Guild this weekend confirmed one of the odder cinematic developments of 2009. Sandra Bullock picked up the SAG best actress award for her performance in The Blind Side — some blubby American foorball thing — and was thus firmly installed, at a sprightly 45, as the actress of the moment. You probably already know this, but, by any measure that matters, Bullock proved to be the most bankable star of last year. She is now, also, favourite to take the Oscar on March 7th.

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Is that…? Yes. Good grief. It’s my career.

Sure, many films made more money than The Proposal or The Blind Side, but none of them was flogged as a star vehicle. Think about it. When discussing your trip to Avatar, did your partner say: “Hey, let’s go and see that new Sam Worthington movie.”? Thought not. “Oh look!” he/she didn’t say either. “There’s a new Kristen Stewart film on at the Ritz. Oh, I don’t know. Something about a vampire I think.” The Blind Side is, apparently, the first film ever to pass $200 million at the US box office with a woman’s name above the title.

I haven’t seen The Blind Side yet. The Proposal was pretty ordinary and — in cinemas now, folks — All About Steve was fairly dreadful. But it’s hard to begrudge Sandy this unexpected boon. She’s an amiable sort and has a decent gift for the delivery of a punchline. In a business where women have, traditionally, been left out with the trash at 30, it’s good to see somebody genuinely middle-aged getting proper romantic leads.

That said, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that she has secured the title by default. Last year, the power of the movie star proved less significant than at any point in the preceding 20 years. A lot of films made a lot of money. Virtually none of the real smashes owed their success to the presence of a Cruise, an Eastwood, a Roberts, a Jolie, a Pitt or even a Van Damme. Sandy has inherited a ravaged kingdom.

Speaking of Jolie, how on earth are the supermarket tabloids going to react if — as reported by some slightly more reputable sources — Brad and Angie are, indeed, to split? I imagine one of those fellows who used to wear sandwich boards declaring “The End is Nigh” pointing with indecent delight towards a hurtling asteroid. “See! I’ve been telling you for years! We’re all going to die! Hooray!”

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