Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Taft Should Be A Hit With The Nats

(By Ronald G. Shafer, Washington Post, 1 February 2012)

Did the Washington Nationals draft the right commander in chief to add to its four Racing Presidents?  The record is clear. Newcomer William Howard Taft literally (he weighed 330 pounds) was the biggest baseball fan of all of America’s presidents, and he promoted the game more than any other president.  Taft created a frenzy at the April 14, 1910, opening-day game of the Washington Senators when he became the first president to throw out the first ball at a major-league baseball game.  “Scan all the annals of Washington baseball as you will . . . there will be found no day so altogether glorious, no paean of victory chanted by rooters and fanatics half so sweet as that witnessed yesterday in honor of the opening of the season of 1910,” reported The Post, which referred to the team not as the Senators but as the “Nationals.”

As a record 15,000 fans roared, the article went on, Taft threw the ball from his front-row seat. “He did it with his good, trusty right arm, and the virgin sphere scudded across the diamond true as a die to the pitchers box where Walter Johnson, also the possessor of a good, trusty right arm, gathered it in.”  Johnson blanked the Philadelphia Athletics on one hit to win the game. The next day, Taft sent the great pitcher the ceremonial baseball with the presidential signature and this inscription: “For Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday’s game.”  Legend has it that during the game when the 6-foot-2-inch Taft stood up in the seventh inning, fans rose to create the first seventh-inning stretch. Legend has it wrong. The seventh-inning stretch had been around for years; The Post’s article made no mention of any such event.

Taft also threw out the first ball at Washington’s opening day in 1911. “Poising himself for a moment, the nation’s executive swung his arm and hurled the ball straight and true to ‘Dolly’ Gray, the Washington pitcher,” The Post reported. Washington beat Boston, 8 to 5.  The president often went to games. In May 1910, he dropped by the ballpark to see Ty Cobb play for the Tigers. In 1912 he rushed over to catch the final seven innings of a loss to the White Sox. Taft missed the first two innings, The Post reported, because he had to “wait for news from the House, which passed the wool bill over his veto.”

“I like [baseball] for two reasons,” said Taft, who played second base for his Cincinnati high school team. “First, because I enjoy it myself and second, because if by the presence of the temporary first magistrate such a healthy amusement can be encouraged, I want to encourage it.”  The First Fan clearly preferred the big-inning style of current Nationals manager Davey Johnson over the bunt-for-a-run strategy of some skippers. “I love the game when there is plenty of slugging,” Taft said.  Taft had to skip the final opening day of his presidency, on April 19, 1912, to deal with fallout from the April 15 sinking of the Titanic. But during his term he established a tradition of the president throwing out the first ball on opening day in Washington, or elsewhere, that has been continued by every president except Jimmy Carter since. When the Nats picked Taft to join the Racing Presidents, they elected the right man.

The Twilight Of Entitlement

(By Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, April 28, 2013)

We are passing through something more than a period of disappointing economic growth and increasing political polarization. What’s happening is more powerful: the collapse of “entitlement.” By this, I do not mean primarily cuts in specific government benefits, most prominently Social Security, but the demise of a broader mind-set — attitudes and beliefs — that, in one form or another, has gripped Americans since the 1960s. The breakdown of these ideas has rattled us psychologically as well as politically and economically.  In my 1995 book, “The Good Life and Its Discontents,” I defined entitlement as our expectations “about the kind of nation we were creating and what that meant for all of us individually”:

We had a grand vision. We didn’t merely expect things to get better. We expected all social problems to be solved. We expected business cycles, economic insecurity, poverty, and racism to end. We expected almost limitless personal freedom and self-fulfillment. For those who couldn’t live life to its fullest (as a result of old age, disability, or bad luck), we expected a generous social safety net to guarantee decent lives. We blurred the distinction between progress and perfection.

Bill Clinton has a pithier formulation: “If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dreams.” That’s entitlement. “Responsible” Americans should be able to attain realistic ambitions.

No more. Millions of Americans who have “played by the rules” are in distress or fear that they might be. In a new Allstate-National Journal survey, 65 percent of respondents said today’s middle class has less “job and financial security” than their parents’ generation; 52 percent asserted there is less “opportunity to get ahead.” The middle class is “more anxious than aspirational,” concluded the poll’s sponsors. Similarly, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that only 51 percent of workers are confident they’ll have enough money to retire comfortably, down from 70 percent in 2007.  Popular national goals remain elusive. Poverty is stubborn. Many schools seem inadequate. The “safety net,” private and public, is besieged. Our expansive notion of entitlement rested on optimistic and, ultimately, unrealistic assumptions:

First, that economists knew enough to moderate the business cycle, guaranteeing jobs for most people who wanted them. This seemed true for many years; from 1980 to 2007, the economy created 47 million non-farm jobs. The Great Recession revealed the limits of economic management. The faith in a crude stability vanished.

Second, that large corporations (think: General Motors, AT&T) were so dominant that they could provide secure jobs and generous benefits — health insurance, pensions — for much of the labor force. Deregulation, foreign competition and new technologies changed all this. Companies became more cost-conscious, cutting jobs and squeezing fringe benefits. The private “safety net” has shrunk.

Third, that improvements in economic efficiency (a.k.a. “productivity”) would lift living standards and finance bigger government without steeper taxes. Government could pay for new programs by taking a fixed share of rising incomes. In reality, greater income inequality has dampened middle-class living standards, while existing programs — soaring health costs and the effects of an aging population — have claimed an ever-larger share of taxes.

Fourth, that lifestyle choices — to marry, have children or divorce — would expand individual freedom without inflicting adverse social consequences. Wrong. Family breakdown has deepened poverty and worsened children’s prospects. About 30 percent of children live with either one parent or no parent; on average, their life chances are poorer than those in two-parent households.  Weighed down by these contradictions, entitlement has been slowly crumbling for decades. The Great Recession merely applied the decisive blow. We’re not entitled to many things: not to a dynamic economy; not to secure jobs; not to homeownership; not to ever-more protective government; not to fixed tax burdens; not to a college education. Sooner or later, the programs called “entitlements,” including Social Security, will be trimmed because they’re expensive and some recipients are less deserving than others.

The collision between present realities and past expectations helps explain the public’s extraordinary moodiness. The pandering to the middle class by both parties (and much of the media) represents one crude attempt to muffle the disappointment, a false reassurance that the pleasing past can be reclaimed. It can’t. This does not mean the economy can’t improve. Derek Thompson, writing in the Atlantic, suggests that when “millennials” end their delays in marrying, having children and buying homes, they will administer a welcome stimulus to growth. The trouble is that today’s grievances transcend the economy.  In the post-entitlement era, people’s expectations may be more grounded. But political conflicts — who gets, who gives — and social resentments will be, as they already are, sharper. Entitlement implied an almost-limitless future. Facing limits is a contentious exercise in making choices.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sandra Bullock News (2005 Thru 2011)

For Bullock, Nothing Personal
(By Donna Freydkin, USA Today)

Don't even try delving into Sandra Bullock's personal life.  "Eighty percent of what I read is absolutely fabricated and hilarious," Bullock says.  The actress has been dating tattooed Monster Garage host Jesse James, 35, but you'll never catch her spilling the beans about her relationship.  "Anything about personal stuff -  people know me well enough to know that I will dodge that question fast," she says, laughing. "You get numb after a while to hearing how many times you're getting married and are pregnant and you're with someone either you've never met or you know socially.  "The more you deny it, the more they think you're lying. Eighty percent of what I read is absolutely fabricated and hilarious."  To keep the craziness at bay, the never-married star, 40, lives in Austin and New York City with her two mutts, which travel with her everywhere. It's part of her effort to live as normal a life as possible, says Bullock, who gave L.A. the heave-ho years ago because she couldn't "live anyplace where there's not a great diverse mix of human beings. I didn't want my personality to become about what I did or didn't have, and it was getting that way."  Now, Bullock emerges mostly to promote her movies, including Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, opening today. It's the sequel to the 2000 hit that earned $106.8 million and starred Bullock as Gracie Hart, a klutzy FBI agent who becomes an unlikely star after saving the Miss United States pageant from a bomb attack. 

In Congeniality 2, Gracie cleans up and becomes the glam mouthpiece of the FBI — until her pal, the reigning Miss United States, is kidnapped and Gracie investigates her disappearance.  In the sequel, Bullock gets to tackle Dolly Parton in one mistaken-identity scene - and dress up as a Vegas showgirl. It was a rare opportunity to do "good comedy, and I'm not about to let that pass me up," the actress says.  Her favorite scene?  "The old lady, for the obvious reasons," she says, referring to the full disguise she dons to play a grandmother who pretends to enter a retirement home. Bullock loved "getting dressed up as an 83-year-old woman and going, 'Oh, so that's what I'm going to look like. Not bad.' "

Bullock should have plenty of time ahead of her before worrying about being put out to pasture. The actress is active behind the scenes; she produces the TV series George Lopez and movies including 2002's Two Weeks Notice and Miss Congeniality 2.  Her latest challenge? Playing reclusive To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee in Every Word Is True.  "It's really tricky and scary when you're somehow representing an individual who is such an enigma and has created such a huge impact in the literary community," Bullock says.  When it comes to appearance, Bullock says, she is happy with herself.  "I'm a big girl. Every human being has cellulite," she says, noshing on popcorn. "I'm active and I'm manic and I'm high-energy. I like my body.  It's a good thing where I am in my head with my body."  Being around her, you believe it. Bullock is giggly, with an infectious energy and ready chuckle. She laughs when she is asked whether she has had work done on her face: "Two months' worth. Isn't that awesome?"  She doesn't fret if less-than-flattering shots of her appear in the tabloids.  "It's nice to see a celebrity looking like (garbage). Guess what? That's what we look like, 98% of the time. It's not pretty. It's always when I roll out of bed and grab the dogs. But I figure, keep expectations really low."


Sandra Bullock Marries Biker Boyfriend

(People Magazine, Sunday Jul 17, 2005)

 Now you can call her Mrs. Congeniality. Sandra Bullock wed her tattooed beau Jesse James, the star of the Discovery Channel series Monster Garage, in a sunset ceremony Saturday at a ranch north of Santa Barbara, PEOPLE Magazine has learned.  Guests at the wedding confirm the pair were married at the 300-acre Folded Hills Ranch in Solvang, Calif. Bullock wore a white lace dress designed by Angel Sanchez. "She looked beautiful," one guest tells PEOPLE. "She was incredibly happy."  Bullock's rep, Cheryl Maisel, also confirmed the nuptials to PEOPLE.   The two, who had been dating since December 2003, join other high-profile Hollywood couples who have tied the knot in recent surprise ceremonies: Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney were married May 9 in the Virgin Islands.  Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner exchanged vows June 29 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  James arrived at the ranch Saturday behind the wheel of a giant red monster truck. Meanwhile, most of the 300 guests, including William Shatner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Regina King and Metallica lead singer James Hetfield, were shuttled to the ceremony from hotels in Santa Barbara 45 minutes away, but they weren't told a wedding was happening until around 8 p.m., after they had arrived.

The wedding itself was a family affair. Bullock walked down the aisle to a recording of her late mother, opera singer Helga Bullock, performing the aria "Casta Diva." And the actress's sister, Gesine Prado, made the cake.  For the wedding bands, Bullock's was a vintage ring provided by jeweler Neil Lane. James's ring was made by the Miss Congeniality star herself: Bullock learned how to do metal work, and then machined it in James's bike shop. The flowers were by Cecelia Heffernan of Flower Hardware.  Invitations to the nuptials suggested a "hoedown" theme: Guests danced to bluegrass music from the band Cousin Lovers, and other tunes were provided by DJ Tony Okungbowa from The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Bullock, who turns 41 on July 26, and James, 36, have been dating for more than a year, after meeting when she took her young godson on a tour of the Monster Garage set in Long Beach, Calif.  It's the first marriage for Bullock, who has been engaged before (to actor Tate Donovan) and previously linked romantically to actors Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Gosling. 

James, who owns the custom-motorcycle company West Coast Choppers, has been divorced twice, most recently from adult-film actress Janine Lindemulder. But despite his born-to-be-wild past, the father of three young children comes across as "very low key, very quiet, almost shy," Miss Congeniality 2 director John Pasquin told PEOPLE in April.  Added producer Marc Lawrence: "He's similar to Sandy in that he's not looking for publicity."  Indeed, the couple have kept their romance low-profile, turning up vacationing in Hawaii, hitting a flea market in her home base of Austin and taking in a drag race near Las Vegas.  To Bullock, it's a custom-made match. Once, "I was a bolter," she told Vogue in March. "I would get so scared because my idea of marriage was not a very pleasant one. And now I look at it in a different way. I threw away what society's version of it was and I went, 'Why does it have to be anyone else's version but mine?'"


Bullock Donates $1M for Tsunami Relief
(Associated Press)

Actress Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help relief efforts in countries affected by the deadly earthquake and tsunamis in southern Asia and eastern Africa.  Bullock, whose screen credits include "Miss Congeniality," "While You Were Sleeping" and "Speed," contacted the American Red Cross last week, the organization said Monday. She also donated $1 million after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.  "At this critical time, I am grateful to Sandra Bullock for once again demonstrating her leadership, compassion and belief in our global humanitarian mission," said American Red Cross President and Chief Executive Officer Marsha Evans in a statement. "Sandra continues to enable our lifesaving work and is a model for personal generosity."

Hit Or Miss: 'Congeniality 2'

(By Mike Clark, USA TODAY)

Much of Sandra Bullock's screen appeal, going back to Wrestling Ernest Hemingway and Speed, comes from our perception that she's a good sport. It will help if you're one, too, if you choose to sit through the sporadically amusing but sometimes slogging Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (* * 1/2 out of four) -  a title that may be the clunkiest of year.  A colleague noted that choices at the multiplex could have been juiced up with Bullock subbing for Naomi Watts in The Ring Two and Watts for Bullock here.  But in truth, Congeniality's FBI klutz turned beauty queen is shrewdly tailored for Bullock: She gets to snort when laughing, which humanizes her; show her nice legs, which impresses both sexes; and beat up lots of guys, as always a matter of viewer taste.  The sequel opens with Bullock's beauty pageant notoriety proving so distracting in stakeout situations that she's called upon to be the public relations "face" of the FBI. This lasts for maybe two blips.  Two good ol' boys in Las Vegas kidnap one of her first Congeniality co-contestants (Heather Burns) and the gala host (William Shatner). Most viewers should be able to figure it out from here.  Paired with Bullock is a beyond-feisty Regina King (Ray), who plays a ball of physical aggression no one will work with.  Naturally, she becomes Bullock's bodyguard.  You'll notice that Benjamin Bratt, who played Bullock's squeeze in the first film, isn't here. He dumped her, so the two lonely women eventually bond.

     In addition to romance woes and a common foe in criminals, they share animosity toward their showboating supervisor (Treat Williams, sporting A-list hair gel).  Basically, this is a feminized version of the old Red Skelton or Danny Kaye farces that put their stars into contrived but sometimes amusing disguises.  We also get a gay male sidekick, who seems borrowed from about 500 other contemporary comedies, and a wretchedly icky schoolgirl subplot, which, for one thing, keeps a nearly two-hour comedy from ending 10 minutes earlier than it should.  The actresses are nicely teamed, though, so any prospect of a Congeniality 3 at least sounds better than Bullock's Speed 2.  The studio's decision to open the movie today out of deference to Good Friday is understandable. It isn't just that Dolly Parton (in a cameo) gets tackled.  An on-the-air Regis Philbin also gets elbowed in the groin — probably hard enough to affect his upright posture for a week when schmoozing atop those tall stools on his talk show.


'Miss Congeniality' Sequel Flunks The Talent Competition

(By Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)

In "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous," 40-year-old Sandra Bullock proves to be a nimble navigator of the treacherous terrain that stretches between dewy ingenue and Miss Daisy, exuding freshness and easygoing glamour that are, in the actress's signature fashion, utterly unforced.  Would that it were true for the movie, which tediously reprises one of the actress's most successful roles. Like its predecessor, "Miss Congeniality 2" is by turns a predictable and outlandishly contrived take on the Pygmalion myth, one that finds Bullock once again snorting, mugging and tripping her way from tomboy to swan. ("Miss Congeniality 2" appears in theaters a day earlier than the usual Friday, suggesting that it might well come up a dollar short compared with this weekend's similarly pitched comedies, "D.E.B.S." and "Guess Who.") It's a measure of Bullock's unshakable likability that, after making a career of mostly by-the-numbers vehicles like this one, she again emerges with her girl-next-door appeal intact.  

 "Miss Congeniality 2" catches up with FBI Agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) a scant three weeks after her heroics at a national beauty pageant. As "Miss Congeniality 2" opens, Gracie is enduring some good-natured ribbing from her undercover colleagues, but it soon becomes clear that her newfound fame is going to make her a liability during operations. Her boss asks her to become the bureau's spokeswoman, putting her in the care of a (what else?) gay stylist and assigning a feisty new agent named Sam Fuller (Regina King) to be her bodyguard.  No one who knows and loves the down-to-earth, beer-guzzling Gracie Hart will believe how quickly this tough-talking Eliza Doolittle is transformed into a superficial, looks-obsessed airhead. What's more, a high-profile kidnapping that unfolds during Gracie's publicity tour is about as substantial as a typical "Scooby-Doo" episode. The scheme serves merely as the rickety scaffolding on which to pile a series of plodding plot twists, calling on Gracie to go undercover as a leathery octogenarian and a Las Vegas drag queen, and chase Dolly Parton through a casino in perilously high heels.  But a trifling issue like story is surely beside the point of this franchise, which exists primarily to provide amiable if uninspiring family comedy and a fat paycheck for Bullock (who is a producer of the series).

Indeed, the most disappointing thing about "Miss Congeniality 2" isn't its tepid, workmanlike humor or humdrum production values, which are entirely to be expected, but the absences of some of the first movie's best supporting players. The scrumptious Benjamin Bratt has been sidelined (providing what is supposed to be a dramatic subplot), and Michael Caine's Victor Melling, the Henry Higgins behind Gracie's triumph at the Miss United States pageant, has been replaced by an unfunny Carson Kressley manqué named Joel (Diedrich Bader).  Indeed, of all the players, including Bullock, it's the dependably peppery King who provides the energy otherwise lacking in "Miss Congeniality 2." The scene-stealing actress who delivered such memorable turns in "Jerry Maguire" and the recent "Ray" does what she's best at -- turning a smile into a humorous snarl -- to create genuine sparks with Bullock. Although it's tempting to wonder what this natural comic duo might do with a truly original script and an imaginative director, "Miss Congeniality 2" raises an even more urgent question: Isn't it time to say good night, Gracie? 

Sandy Gets Serious
(Vogue, Oct. 2006)

In a quiet corner of a SoHo tavern, Sandra Bullock is sitting back, relaxing, ordering up a late breakfast (or early brunch, depending on how you look at it) of bacon and eggs. By relaxing, we don't mean I've-got-nothing-to-do relaxing—that's not Sandra Bullock's relaxation style. Workwise, she's just wrapped one movie, The Lake House, and is entering the final phase of her latest, a film based on the life of Truman Capote, called Infamous. Then there's her production company, which, among other things, is painstakingly putting together a biopic, to use the industry term, about Grace Metalious, the fifties New Hampshire author whose life was engulfed by her then-scandalous novel Peyton Place. Bullock is doing all this, meanwhile, while traversing between New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas—where, incidentally, she is about to open a bistro, even if lately she somehow survives mostly on decaf. Sandra Bullock's relaxation style is more along the lines of I've-planned-to-relax-today relaxation. She has none of the harried panic you saw, for instance, when she first blockbustered in Speed, and likewise offers no sign of the haughty intolerance of her recent, critically acclaimed performance as the bigoted wife of an L.A. district attorney in Crash. As you sit down with her at Fanelli's, the almost 160-year-old tavern on Prince Street, her easy barroom hospitality immediately inspires you to order the same—a bacon-and-egg sandwich, to be precise, with the cheese, sure. And she further inspires amazement when, after you follow her order, she goes ahead and orders another one. "And can I have it to go?" she asks the waitress.

"This is for the better half," she says, by which she means Jesse James, the person with whom she's usually seen strolling around New York City, L.A., or Austin. For many Americans, Sandra Bullock and Jesse James are the unlikely pair of the moment. She was raised by an opera-singer mom and a voice-coach father, and he is, well, a guy who customizes choppers and has a lot of tattoos, as well as pet sharks, pit bulls, and a past that includes a stint as a bodyguard for bands such as Soundgarden and Slayer. (David Letterman recently asked Bullock if she'd lost a bet.) But they are not an odd couple to people who know her. And not if her casual mood, sitting here in this tavern, after the first bacon-and-egg sandwich arrives, is any indication of her general state of happiness. "Relax," she says as she stops herself from rushing. "I've got lots of time."  Today Bullock is wearing a pretty batik dress of no particular origin that she is aware of, Lanvin flats, and a purse that is, in her words, "my $5 gold lamé skull-and-crossbones-where-the-zipper's-already-broken bag.  "I have nothing to do but screw in bulbs today, new light- bulbs," she says. If this sounds like drudgery, or at least banal, it's pure excitement to Sandra Bullock, who has called home-repair magazines her own personal erotica, so infatuated is she with subjects like flooring. "I found vintage bulbs to go with the light fixtures, and that's all we're doing today." That and eating. And, as mentioned, relaxing.

Aside from being so relaxed, she's also funny, self-deprecating even, pointing out, shortly after the sandwiches arrive, "I'm getting egg on my face." But there is no egg, and in fact she is perfectly composed, charming, quick-witted, and steady. When you sit before her in the dark, wood-paneled room—especially if you've just seen her portrayal of Harper Lee in Infamous, the writer and director Douglas McGrath's version of the making of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood—you might feel as if you've just landed in Capote's tavern seat. Harper Lee was Capote's confidante since childhood. In McGrath's film, Capote spends most of his New York life sipping cocktails in nightclubs and uptown restaurants with high society. But for advice, for intimate writer-to-writer brainstorming, he sat in an old tavern sharing a burger and a beer with his oldest friend, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Infamous, of course, is already just that: a biopic that fearlessly (some might say awkwardly) follows last year's biopic about the same thing. That version, Capote, featured the Oscar-winning performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote and Catherine Keener as Harper Lee. In Infamous, a considerably less well-known British actor named Toby Jones plays the novelist. Fortunately for all concerned, Jones is also superb. While Hoffman portrayed a dark and brooding writer, Jones is flamboyantly funny. Bullock, meanwhile, deftly plays Harper Lee as the listener—a character deep enough to stand in for the viewer so that as we watch the film, we are proud of Capote, then worried, and finally enraged, like Harper Lee, as he attempts to steer what happens in real life for his own authorial purposes. The dark turns, though, are preceded by the unavoidably comic meeting of Truman Capote and the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, where both sides are surprised at how much they end up respecting each other. "I think Sandy got right into that idea of the delight Lee feels for her childhood friend," Jones says, "as she watched and witnessed the negotiations with these people."  What makes this quietness even more impressive is that it's not the kind of performance you might expect from a big star whose box-office numbers have typically been built on a kind of cuddly slapstick, a warm regular-gal comedy, the kind that raked in multimillions for Miss Congeniality. "America is not a country where the small gesture goes noticed," notes the Harper Lee of Infamous. "We want everything you have, and we want it as fast as you can turn it out."

And yet in the majority of Bullock's scenes, as Lee and Capote huddle over those beers, as they camp out in a Kansas hotel, as she assuages the relationship between the fame-hungry Capote and the wary Kansans, Bullock works the lightest touch. Bullock's Harper Lee makes moral judgments with the gentlest squint of her dark eyes and with the delicately sharp remarks that come in hair-down conversations between friends who grew up together. Today, at a tavern that feels a little like a setting in the film, Bullock easily confides that this Capote biopic was worth it for her—despite, even because of, the other film. "There could be another five films made about that period of his life," she says. "I mean, make a film about the Black and White Ball, the setting up of that! You could take so many pieces of that pie and still not get at all the truth."  The truth being the answer to the question, What happened? Why, when Capote returned from Kansas after writing his masterpiece, did he divorce himself from the circle of society women with whom he once lunched and then excoriate them in Answered Prayers, his final work? Why did he seem to break away even from Harper Lee? "In his life, there seems to be a split," says McGrath. "He broke with almost every close, important friend he had. He was working at the top of his game, and then after In Cold Blood, he goes away. What happened to this guy?"

The answer to that literary mystery—and the mystery that haunts Bullock's performance in Infamous—involves the always elusive, and still-living, Harper Lee. In other words, who is Harper Lee, the famous writer who has so impressively skipped the trappings of fame? Who is this woman who may have aided Capote's career more than anyone previously believed? (Until old letters proving the contrary were discovered, and the rumor killed definitively, the opposite idea was often whispered: that Capote ghostwrote Mockingbird.) Like Catherine Keener before her, Bullock tried her best to figure out Harper Lee, a tough task given that Lee is as reclusive as Capote was spotlight-seeking—and given that Lee has never been filmed or recorded—but a task that eventually brought the 42-year-old actress to imagine that a certain resolve characterizes the 80-year-old author, a resolve that has all but disappeared in our fame-obsessed culture.  "It's the same thing that allows a person like that to step back," Bullock says. "Or not step back, but step toward the life they want, which no one else understands, because it's not about selling out. But if you've seen the few articles she's written"—the very few short pieces, such as one Lee wrote for Vogue, in 1961, on the subject of non-romantic love—"you see the humanity and the understanding she has of life and her respect for people, which is above most other people's thinking.
She knows something else that allows her to step back and do what she did. It's extraordinary." To discover her own Harper Lee (whose first name, in the film as among friends, is Nelle, pronounced "Nell"), Bullock consulted a dialect coach, and then started calling friends. "Friends with fathers who are great writers," she says, "and I'd say, 'Who can I call?' I called Michael Mailer and said, 'Go ask Norman who can get me information.' And once we just sat down—well, I knew she was from Monroeville, Alabama. Monroeville has this very distinct accent. My family's from Birmingham, but I have family that lives right in Monroeville and in the outskirts. At the time the accent was different than it is now. You know, we have the infusion of so much television, colloquialism. And we found interviews with a lovely woman, a teacher who knew Nelle and worked with her. And in the interview, she said something, and then she looked off camera and she said, 'Isn't that right, Nelle?' And you hear this laugh. And then Nelle saying something like, 'Oh, yeah.' But this laugh is in the dialect. You went, 'Oh, there it is!'" 

Still, the end result relies as much on the knowing glance as on the perfect drawl. "Because Harper Lee," McGrath says, "in our portrayal of her, just absorbs it privately and makes a private decision." Not that Bullock absolutely trusts her own portrayal, or anyone else's. "I love Catherine," Bullock says of Keener. "We know each other, and we just sort of laugh and say how great is it that it takes two of us to play Nelle, and we probably haven't hit the tip of the iceberg!"  Bullock never expected a response from Harper Lee about the film, but when a response came, it was, not surprisingly, fashion-related. To deemphasize Lee's glamour, the film's costume designer, the meticulous Ruth Myers (who worked previously with McGrath on Emma and Nicholas Nickleby), ended up stuffing Bullock's costume with birdseed, and outfitted her with rather dowdy short wool socks. "I have a friend who is neighbors with Gregory Peck's widow, who is good friends with Nelle," says Bullock, taking another slug of decaf coffee, "and apparently—again, apparently—Nelle saw a picture of me in those socks and she said. . . ." Here, Bullock puts on her Southern drawl. "'I never wore socks!'" "And I went, Oh, genius!" Bullock continues, her hands in the air. "She didn't mention anything else. We were off by one thing!"

Infamous is a New York story, though much of it is set elsewhere. The Kansas scenes, however, were mostly filmed in Austin, the town that has lately become a home base for Bullock. She grew up in Virginia, but the family spent a lot of time in Bavaria, where her mother was from and sang opera. Bullock likes to joke that opera was her day care. Indeed, Bullock's first role was famously as an urchin, a beggar dressed in rags, and as a child opera extra, she was initially unaware of the importance of deferring dramatically to the lead tenor.  "He had this big aria," Bullock recalls. "I think it was in the end, and what they did was throw up these chocolates, Mozart Kugeln. They would throw them onstage, like a bravo. Well, I see that. . . ." From her table at Fanelli's, she now makes a small lunge to illustrate the scene she is recalling. "I see that," she continues, "and I hit the ground, crawling. But I'm rolling in front of him, between him and the orchestra, and I'm on the ground, crawling, picking up the chocolates. So my mother had to pull me aside in the end and say, 'We never upstage the tenor.' I was like, 'What is upstage?' I was a miser. I was in character. It was Method!"

 A side effect of growing up surrounded by opera was being surrounded by costumes, and sewing, among other crafts. "My mother had the best costumes," she says. "All my mother's costumes are here in the city. My sister and I just went through all the costumes she had made for operas. I mean, the seamstresses, and the beauty of turn-of-the-century outfits with bustles." And her mother, who died of cancer in 2000, often made her costumes. "My mother was also a great seamstress in that she would make all these amazing clothes, but she would make the matching version for me. And we have them all—every dress from every prom, every event was made by Mother. We'd pick out the pattern, the McCall's pattern. We'd cut it out and pick the fabric. There was never anything we bought for an event until I was a teenager, and still she was making my dresses and I was in misery. But now I am so thankful because I have a closetful of them." Bullock is also thankful for her ability to sew. "When I was living here with my dad on the Upper West Side, before I moved downtown, when I was waitressing, I would buy vintage clothing and tailor it," she says. "Because in Germany, we had to knit and crochet by the first grade. So I would make people sweaters; still do. And you know, essentially I didn't have a lot of money, but I had some cute outfits because I was able to buy something for $11 and make it into the hottest little number."

Bullock moved eight years ago to Austin, where, despite the Texas Hill Country heat, she chilled. Infamous comes after her success with Crash, and after her surprise wedding (even to the guests) in California to Jesse James, a man she herself was initially surprised to be dating and who now owns a Los Angeles organic fast-food place, Cisco Burger, named for his pit bull. "You know, organic high-end, at affordable prices for the neighborhood," she says. "But you still get the great fries, soft-serve ice cream. It's my nemesis. I try to drive around it." The idea that she is married to a descendant of an actual Western outlaw is something she is only just beginning to grapple with, metaphysically speaking. "Someone said I need to become a gun moll," she says. "You know, there was a book written in the sixties on the whole family, and it's really cool because there's the family tree, and then the writer or someone did an addendum to it, and it had the latest generation with my name attached to it, and I went, Whoa!" As the great-grandson of a cousin of Jesse James has taken to Sandra Bullock, so has he taken to Austin, where the two are frequently seen eating ice cream at Amy's (an ice cream store so good that a marriage could very well be built on it), or shopping at the old antiques stores that run for miles and miles into the countryside. 

Prior to marriage, Bullock attempted to build her dream house alongside an Austin-area lake. As opposed to the fake house in The Lake House, the romantic thriller that recently reunited her with her Speed costar Keanu Reeves, this house was a horror movie. She stayed in it only one night and subsequently sued the contractor for shoddy workmanship, the result being a legal victory for Bullock and a semi-triumphant turn at the controls of the bulldozer that mowed down the place last year. "We're not going to rebuild it, and I'm looking at it as a big expensive metaphor of what not to do," she says. She donated the remains to Habitat for Humanity, and started over again, emotionally and architecturally, with the guest house that remained on the property. "We don't need a lot of space," she says. "There's gonna be a garage, barn doors opening to the lake, where you put an old farm dining table, and a shop and that's it. There's a little house there that was originally built by a German family in the thirties. That's still there, and that was like the guest house, which always felt better than the main house—we'd migrate. The family name still stands etched in the glass, and that's gonna stay that way."

During the making of Infamous, Bullock and Jesse James were happy to direct other cast members to local music venues, since they know the way so well themselves. "No matter what you are in the mood for," says Bullock. "You say, 'OK, I want to go out and hear ukulele,' and you'll find it." She pointed Toby Jones toward Antone's. "I saw loads of bands," he recalls. "It is a great town for when you can't get to bed at night when you are anxious about the character you're playing."  Apart from its music scene, anybody who knows vintage knows that Austin is an antique-clothing capital—as well as a capital of new clothing, as far as Bullock is concerned, and even of jewelry-making, given designers such as Anthony Nak. "I've bought some of the best hand-tooled cowboy boots," says Bullock. "They were even a size and a half too big, but it didn't matter. And you've got great boutiques, and young designers are coming out of Austin and there's great jewelry and clothing. And now I'm finding a lot of stuff I find here, in New York, that I find in Austin."  It's an easy place to live; in the fall, winter, and spring, the weather is easy, and although there are paparazzi in Austin (because there are paparazzi everywhere), they are maybe not as prevalent as they are in L.A., or even in SoHo, where, if you walk around with Sandra Bullock, or any film star for that matter, you can't avoid hearing the shuttering sound of America as it gasps for every last detail of celebrity—the gasping that Harper Lee, a person who is infamously unfamous, has so triumphantly and forcibly ignored. You can tell that the paparazzi-stalked actress is amazed at what Harper Lee has managed, as far as publicity goes.

"People don't understand why someone wouldn't want to be photographed or talked about," says Bullock. "It's got to be so strange to have all these people thinking they know you, when they don't," she says. "The thing that she still does is involve herself in worthwhile causes, and she's still inspiring young kids and writers and people in her community. She cuts out the one element that drives everyone crazy, which is the media and public recognition. She's someone who says, 'Let my book speak for itself.' There's nothing else to say when you write something like that. Nothing."  Bullock speaks as the recent target of the media spotlight: SO IN LOVE, shouts one headline on the occasion of their one-year anniversary. There's nothing like a happy (seeming) celebrity marriage to get the gossip pages going about things like, just for instance, babies. The irony of playing a person who is smartly secluded hasn't escaped Sandra Bullock, a person who prides herself on avoiding questions about her personal life, and especially about relationships. "I'm really good at not answering," she says. "The thing about relationships, whether I am talking about my mother or my father or my sister, nine times out of ten I know it'll be misconstrued, and I know it will be quoted, and people will come back and say, 'They said you were a hermaphrodite.' No, I said I was out late last night."  Still, it seems safe to say that Bullock is surprised (a) to find herself married—by all accounts she had all but written off the idea—and (b) married to Jesse James. Such surprise developments seem to have taught her to enjoy surprise developments. "Again, you are talking to a recovering control freak," she says. "I mean, I say one thing this week because it applies to life now, and next week all hell could break loose on many levels, on a personal level, on a global level, and everything that I said this week is completely moot."

It's safe to say, too, that because neither she nor anyone is likely to get answers from Harper Lee about her relationship with Capote, Bullock is all the more tantalized by Lee—and, perhaps, inspired by a good relationship. "The great love and care for this man in her life, this partner or friend that she has, and yet she fights with the issues that she disagrees with," says Bullock. "You look at the life choices and direction, and you understand at some point—and again, I'm assuming, and we'll never know the story of why they split, and I don't want people to know the story of why I had rifts with people—but you see why they fit so well together. They came from that small place. They understood, they nurtured each other. It was just such a great relationship." Lunch is done. The final sandwich appears in a paper bag—the to-go sandwich for Jesse James. Bullock, the former waitress, is extremely courteous with the current waitress. And she is soon out on the streets walking home for a happy afternoon of home repair, avoiding the paparazzi as usual. But before she gets up, she is looking at the bill. "Tip well," she says. "Always tip well. Tip a little more."

Sandra Bullock

(Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood website, 2007)

Ahhh — Sandra Bullock in the Morning!

"I had a really hard time figuring out the time line, and I thought at one point that I was gonna lose it. I went to director Mennan Yapo and said, 'I don't know where I am in this movie.' And he smiled and went, 'This is exactly where you need to be.' Eventually, I understood the method to his madness." — Sandra Bullock

It's sort of Ground Hog Day: The Tragedy. Bullock stars in Premonition as a woman in a troubled marriage who wakes up the day after her husband dies in a horrible car accident to discover he's still alive. Then her life really gets torn apart as she goes through a repetition of days when sometimes he's alive and sometimes he isn't. Yeah, it was confusing even to her.

Why she'll never give up denying that she's gorgeous: "You become a movie star and sexy, because you're up there larger than life, but it's not really justified. I know what I look like in the morning — I have good days and bad days. I've learned to sit very still when the makeup artist starts working on me. And don't forget when you see a picture of a star in a magazine it's been airbrushed … I don't want that to go too far. I don't want them to give me something that I don't have. Don't enhance me into a fantasy."

Does she believe in fate sending you a message? "When someone says to me, 'I've got a bad feeling that something is gonna happen' and then it does, it can't be explained by science, but I believe it does occur. Everyone has intuition. I've had dreams or signs telling me not to do something, and then I've done it and paid for it. I've had dreams and thought, What does that mean? And then what I dreamed really happened. Is that intuition? Is that premonition? Is that coincidence? I don't know."

After going through a rocky marriage on the screen, Sandra has a few thoughts: "They're a couple who don't communicate. They don't know how to get back to each other, and that happens to so many people. Why is work or business or success or having that house or that lifestyle so important that we will allow it to make us dead? Start a dialog with someone you love: 'I'm pissed off at you. F--- you. How dare you do this?!' Don't go through life unfeeling."

You won't see her on Dancing With the Stars: "I've been tangoing to get ready for Kiss and Tango. I knew how to salsa and merengue, so I was a little cocky when I started. But I soon figured out I had a lot to learn. Go take a tango class, and you'll want to go home and kill yourself because you are so inept. It's been a good life lesson for me. It is just frustrating … but beautiful when it all comes together."

Sandra Bullock: Stop Asking When I'll Have Kids

(By Stephen M. Silverman, In Style magazine, 2007)

Sandra Bullock didn't rush to get married – she wed Jesse James in 2005 at age 40 – so people should stop telling her to hurry up and get pregnant.  "How many times do people say, 'So, when are you going to have kids?' " she says in the March issue of InStyle. "Can I slap you now?"  For now, her two rescued dogs are her babies, despite recent reports that she was pregnant. "One hundred percent false," she says.  That's not to say that she and James, 37, aren't deliriously happy – even though the tattooed Monster Garage host might not at first look like her perfect match.  Before she got to know him, "I assumed he was a homophobic chauvinist, a bigot who kills people," she says. "And later I felt saddened by my assumptions because I wondered how many times I had written off people who truly were real."  Their relationship works, she says, because of "how the pistons shoot off in our heads. One idea begets 700,000 other ones, all requiring immediate attention. At least my addiction is understood by my partner, and hopefully we can help each other find the normalcy. It's our normalcy; it's not anyone else's. I finally felt I had a net for the real me."   And the real her is just as comfortable in a "ridiculously expensive dress" and Christian Louboutin heels as she is in jeans and dusty boots. So is there anything she couldn't wear? "A size 4," she cracks.  But she's realistic about her body. "We all have cellulite," she says. "So do supermodels! I've been to the shows, and I go, 'Stick figure has some cellulite!' It's nature. Without it, you're not human."


Fan Charged With Stalking Sandra Bullock

A fan of Sandra Bullock was charged with stalking the actress and trying to run down her husband, TV motorcycle maker Jesse James, outside their Orange County home.  Marcia Diane Valentine, 46, of Huntington Beach, was charged with felony counts of aggravated assault and stalking. She could face up to four years, and eight months in prison if convicted, the district attorney's office said.  It was unknown whether Valentine had an attorney and she remained free on $25,000 bail.  Last week, Bullock obtained a restraining order barring Valentine from contacting or coming near her home, family or work for three years.  The actress testified in court that on five occasions Valentine left in her yard palm fronds adorned with "weird signs" and "pieces of animal fur."  Bullock testified that after Valentine was spotted April 22, 2007 outside the couple's home in Sunset Beach her husband went outside and tried to write down the woman's license plate.  "When he went outside, Valentine is accused of screaming obscenities, getting into her silver Mercedes, and reversing her car in an effort to run over James," the district attorney's office said.  She narrowly missed James, reversed again in an effort to run him down and then fled, prosecutors contended.  James, host of TV's Monster Garage, was not hurt. Valentine was arrested the next day by sheriff's deputies while driving in the area.


Bullock Honored By La. School For Katrina Charity

(By Stacey Plaisance, Associated Press, May 16, 2009)

Actress Sandra Bullock was inducted Friday into a New Orleans high school's "Hall of Fame" after donating tens of thousands toward rebuilding the public school heavily flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Bullock took the auditorium stage at Warren Easton High School to a standing ovation from about 300 people. She said she couldn't take all the credit for renovations after the school suffered $4 million in damages from nearly 10 feet of floodwater from the storm.  "I just write the checks," the actress said, adding she "rides the coattails of people who do amazing things."

Bullock's portrait- drawn in crayon by her 5-year-old stepdaughter Sunny- was added to a school hallway alongside dozens of portraits of alumni who went on to become famous musicians, sports stars, judges and doctors.  The exact amount of her donation hasn't been made public. But Bullock called it "the best investment I ever made."  In an interview, Bullock said she was "embarrassed" by the federal government's slow response after Katrina and felt compelled to help however she could.

Her donation helped fund scholarships, new band uniforms and renovations of the school auditorium. She said providing for new band uniforms was important because of New Orleans' rich music history. School graduates include jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain, also in the hall of fame.  "It's not just reading, writing and arithmetic," she said. "Where's the joy in life? In New Orleans, it's in music."  Bullock has visited the school many times since Katrina. Warren Easton, a predominantly black inner city school, dates its origins to 1844 as one of Louisiana's oldest public schools.

Bullock was joined Friday by her husband, celebrity motorcycle builder Jesse James, and James' daughter Sunny.  Besides charity work, Bullock has been busy with her movie career. Her romantic comedy "The Proposal," costarring Ryan Reynolds, is due in theaters in June.  She is producing and starring in the comedy "All About Steve," which is expected to be released later this year. And she is currently filming the drama "The Blind Side" in Atlanta.


Sandra Bullock: You Have To Enjoy Razzies And Oscars

(By Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today website, Feb 2010)

"I'm awake now," says Sandra Bullock, who is getting used to having the title "Oscar nominee" attached to her name for the first time - for her work in The Blind Side.  "It wasn't until 15 minutes ago when the sun came out that I felt that way. Give me my coffee! My husband (celebrity motorcycle customizer Jesse James) finally brought me a real cup of coffee, not grounds I have been chewing on."  At 45, she has had a long and prosperous career in romantic comedies. But The Blind Side tapped into a different side of the actress, emotionally and dramatically. "I want to baffle people by not doing something that is expected to me. I want to keep being allowed to make choices." 

One topic has been carefully sidestepped: Her third film this year, All About Steve, which earned her some of her worst reviews ever. Now it is up for several Razzie honors, including worst actress. "Thank God, that film is finally being recognized for something," she says. "They don't get it now but in 10 years it is going to have a cult following. If I win, I am so showing up. I have to enjoy that as much as getting an Oscar nomination. It is the great balance in our business."  As for being in the eye of the awards storm, "I am more used to presenting or watching these shows on TV. It's best if you enjoy each moment for the party it is and the party you get to see. And to see everyone, everyone I've not met. The actors are just happy to be there. You sit down and see Matt Damon and say, 'Dude, your career is awesome. How are your kids?' That's feeling it from the inside out. It's more calm and humbling."

She certainly has given great performances on the awards show circuit, stealing a kiss from Meryl Streep at the Critics Choice and causing tears to flow during the Screen Actors Guild ceremony. "I pull those speeches out of a place where the sun don't shine. How do you prepare?"  As for Streep, perceived to be her main competition with her performance as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, she says, "Everyone says it is a tight race, but it's not a race with us. None of the women care. Meryl and I have a special relationship. We rib each other. I asked her if she would attend the Oscars with me. I would wear the tuxedo. We could go together and come out of the closet with our love for each other." After all, she says, "Meryl is a good kisser."


Sandra Bullock burned herself dying her pubic hair

(By ???, Feb 2010, USA Today website)

OUCH!  The actress – who is married to motorcycle enthusiast Jesse James – admits she was horrified when her special Valentine’s Day grooming efforts went wrong.  She explained: “I decided for Valentine’s Day I would do a special hair thing. I wanted to try to create a pink heart shape with my lower hair. It was painful.  “You had to bleach it first. There’s something about bleach that feels like acid. Then I had to shave it. "I was in so much pain, but I kept going and put the pink dye on and it went the wrong colour.”  The 45-year-old star also suffered another dyeing disaster when she went blonde recently for her role in ‘The Blind Side’ because Jesse hated it.

She admitted to Britain’s OK! magazine: “There is a very important person in my life who just didn’t want me being blonde – thank God. There was a big person who said, ‘I don’t like the blonde on you, take it off. You want him to say that.’ You want him to say that. You do.” 


Sandra Bullock Wins First Oscar As Best Actress

(By Beth Harris, The Associated Press, 8 March 8, 2010)

Sandra Bullock paid her dues in Hollywood for more than 20 years, beloved by the moviegoing public if not always the critics. She was rewarded Sunday, winning the best-actress Oscar for playing a tough white Southern woman who adopted a black child in "The Blind Side."  Bullock had repeatedly said she didn't think she was going to win for the part she initially turned down, although the 45-year-old actress was a heavy favorite.  "Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?" she said after accepting the golden statue from Sean Penn.  "I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know."

In the closest race of the acting categories, Bullock was up against Meryl Steep in "Julie & Julia," former winner Helen Mirren in "The Last Station," and breakout stars Gabourey Sidibe of "Precious" and Carey Mulligan of "An Education" for their first-time leading roles.  In "The Blind Side," Bullock donned a frosted blond wig and a Tennessee twang to play Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real-life adoptive mother of Baltimore Ravens football player Michael Oher.  Bullock had already won the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, and tied Streep at the Broadcast Film Critics awards. Streep also won at the Globes. At 60, Streep is the most nominated actor, male or female, of all time with 16 nods, but she's gone home empty-handed since her last best-actress win for "Sophie's Choice" in 1983. Her other victory was as supporting actress for "Kramer vs. Kramer" in 1980.  "I look at the company I keep in this category and you can't pick," Bullock said backstage. "There's not one that rises above the others. I feel like I share it equally in five parts because we ladies need to stick together."

Bullock's Oscar triumph came a night after she won worst actress at the Razzies on Saturday for "All About Steve," a romantic comedy flop that quickly vanished at theaters in between her 2009 hits, "The Proposal" and "The Blind Side."  Bullock became the first person to win an Oscar and a Razzie on the same weekend. She was the rare A-list star who attended the show that pokes fun at the Oscars by giving out prizes for Hollywood clunkers.  "I had the best time at the Razzie," she said backstage. "It's the great equalizer. No one lets me get too full of myself."  Asked where she would put the Oscar and the Razzie, Bullock replied, "They'll sit side-by-side on a shelf somewhere, the Razzie maybe on a different shelf, lower."

Bullock's breakout role came in the 1994 film "Speed." She went on to score box office successes in "While You Were Sleeping" and "Miss Congeniality." But she also appeared in a string of duds before a supporting role in the 2004 movie "Crash" earned Bullock some of the best reviews of her career.  She attributed her victory to hanging in through good roles and bad.  "I didn't aspire to this," she said backstage, cradling her Oscar. "I was in awe of it, I admired it and I got to watch it like everyone else did. I didn't think the opportunity would ever present itself for me to rise to that occasion. This came out of left field, every pun intended."


'Transformers,' Bullock make Razzies worst list

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was picked as last year's worst picture at Saturday's Razzies, and Sandra Bullock won worst actress for "All About Steve" — on the eve of her expected Academy Awards triumph for another film.  Voters at the Razzies, which poke fun at the Oscars by giving out prizes for Hollywood's critical misfires, chose Bullock for her romantic comedy flop. "All About Steve" came and quickly vanished at theaters in between her 2009 hits, "The Proposal" and "The Blind Side," the latter expected to win Bullock the best-actress Oscar on Sunday.

If Bullock takes best-actress for "The Blind Side," she will be the first person ever to win an Oscar and a Razzie over the same weekend.  "She's in the unprecedented position, Saturday she's the worst, and the very next night, she's back on her feet, and she's the best," said Razzies founder John Wilson. "We certainly don't wish her ill at that other awards show."  Throughout awards season, Bullock has been good-natured about it, joking about the Razzies attention she has gotten along with the Oscar esteem.

If Sandra Bullock beats Meryl Streep to win the Academy Award for Best Actress tonight, she'll make history, because in addition to being nominated for Oscar honors for her turn in the football drama The Blind Side, she also earned a nomination -- from the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation -- for Worst Actress of the year for starring in the abysmally-received comedy All About Steve. Last night in Hollywood, the classy actress actually showed up to receive her Razzie award, and she came bearing gifts.

Bullock, ever the good sport about being "honored," teased the crowd in attendance, all of whom she guessed hadn't actually seen All About Steve (which she also produced). During her acceptance speech ("I didn't realize that in Hollywood that all you have to do is say you'll show up and you'll get [the award]. If I had known that, I would have said I was appearing at the Oscars a long time ago"), Bullock exacted a revenge of sorts when she carted out a wagon full of All About Steve DVDs to give to the audience.   Bullock and "All About Steve" co-star Bradley Cooper also shared the Razzie for worst screen couple. 

The "Transformers" sequel won two other Razzies, worst director for Michael Bay and worst screenplay for Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.  Bay and his team probably will not lose any asleep over it, though. Though reviled by critics, "Transformers" took in $402.1 million domestically, No. 2 on the 2009 box-office chart behind "Avatar."  The worst-actor Razzie went to siblings Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas for "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience."  The Jonas' pal Miley Cyrus, star of "Hannah Montana: The Movie," lost the worst-actress category to Bullock. But her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, was named worst supporting actor for the big-screen "Hannah Montana."  Sienna Miller received the worst supporting-actress Razzie for the action tale "G.I. Joe."

Will Ferrell's action comedy flop "Land of the Lost" had come in tied with "Transformers" for the Razzies lead with seven nominations, but it was nearly shut out in every category.  Once ballots had been counted from the roughly 650 Razzies voters, "Land of the Lost" was tied for the group's worst remake, rip-off or sequel prize. Razzies founder Wilson, who always votes last, gave the tie-breaking vote to "Land of the Lost."  "It really did stink and I thought, well, it ought to get something, because it is a very bad movie," Wilson said.  Razzie voters also made worst-of-the-decade picks, with John Travolta's science-fiction debacle "Battlefield Earth" winning worst picture.  Among all-time Hollywood dreck, "Battlefield Earth" is "like the 800-pound mongrel gorilla in the room," Wilson said. "It's one of my favorite type of bad movies. It's so bad, it's entertaining, in ways that the people who made it had no idea it would be." 

Paris Hilton was chosen as the decade's worst actress for movies such as "The Hottie and the Nottie" and "Repo: The Genetic Opera." Eddie Murphy, a 2009 Razzie nominee for "Imagine That," was named the decade's worst actor for such bombs as "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," "I Spy" and "Meet Dave."


Onstage Drama And Backstage Delight At The Academy Awards

(By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY)

The best seat at the Oscars is backstage. USA TODAY was in the wings of the Kodak Theatre Sunday night, capturing off-the-cuff moments that followed the staged events.  One of the most emotional moments backstage came after screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher won for his adapted screenplay of Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire and Mo'Nique won supporting actress for playing the film's malevolent mother.  Known for her brassy and blunt comedy, Mo'Nique humbled the audience by thanking the academy for showing that the awards "can be about the performance, not the politics." And she thanked Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar, for playing Mammy in 1939's Gone With the Wind. "I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so I would not have to."

Mo'Nique had been criticized by some Oscar pundits for not aggressively campaigning throughout awards season. It didn't seem to hurt her; she won almost every major prize before also taking home the Academy Award.  Waiting just behind her in the shadows was Fletcher, his Oscar demurely held at his side. Onstage, Fletcher said, "This is for everybody who works on a dream every day. Precious boys and girls everywhere."  One of the ABC pages came by and said, "Does anyone know where Geoffrey Fletcher is?" while looking directly at him. "Do you have eyes on Geoffrey Fletcher?"  Fletcher raised his Oscar into view and with a stunned look asked, "Me? Do you mean me?" But before he would let the page take him to the pressroom in the hotel next door, he wanted his moment with Mo'Nique. A long hug ensued. But it wasn't silent.

"Oh, baby! Oh, baby," Mo'Nique repeated again and again, as they clutched their Oscars at the other's back. "Look what we did!" As they pulled apart, they raised their Oscars and clinked their heads like Champagne glasses. "To you," Mo'Nique said. "To you, my baby."  As they walked down the corridor to the elevator that would take them to the pressroom, Robin Williams jumped in front of them to lighten the mood, making "swish, swish, swish" noises as he swept an invisible broom in front of her slow walk.  "It's curling, curling!" Williams said, finally getting Mo'Nique to laugh out loud.

Kate Winslet was a bulldozer for Oscar winner Jeff Bridges. The actress, a winner last year for The Reader, presented Bridges with his Crazy Heart trophy and pulled him backstage, waving aside stagehands and declaring Bridges needed the place "to say other stuff, to thank the people he didn't thank out there."  She was referring to the academy's thank-you cam, an Internet-only camera that records winners' voluminous lists of names of people who need to be mentioned but were left out onstage. It's meant to encourage winners to give more heartfelt speeches rather than read a litany of managers, agents, lawyers, friends and family.  "And here," Winslet said, thrusting the open envelope with his name into his hands, "don't lose this!"  Clearly, her take-charge attitude came from being a veteran.

Though he's had a long career, Bridges didn't seem to know what she was talking about. As he wandered about, clutching his trophy, he passed the thank-you cam and its team. He laughed and said, "I don't even know what a thank-you cam is."  Soon he was swarmed. Tim Robbins first, then Michelle Pfeiffer, his co-star from 1989's The Fabulous Baker Boys, who introduced him onstage, and whatever focus he had left was gone. But eventually he made his way back to the camera, and he had a lot on his mind. He even pulled up a chair and sat down for the long haul.

Sandra Bullock, after winning best actress for The Blind Side, came backstage clutching Sean Penn's arm. "Sean, what do I do now?" Penn, last year's best-actor winner for Milk, shrugged and said, "I don't know."  She could have used some of Winslet's mother-hen-like expertise. "Well, I don't know either," Bullock said.  Just then, the best-director category came up on the monitors, and they watched as the action unfolded live right behind them.  Well, Bullock watched. Penn made a quick exit, leaving the baffled actress unsure what came next. To her rescue came Forest Whitaker, the best-actor winner for The Last King of Scotland three years ago. He asked her what she wanted to do, the options being go back to her seat, go to the pressroom or just stay put.  Bullock's response: "I want a cheeseburger and french fries and a milkshake." Whitaker nodded. "Ahhh, a little In-N-Out tonight," he said, with an expression of someone who knows good, post-Oscar burger dining.  As Kathryn Bigelow accepted best director for The Hurt Locker, Bullock took a moment to peek into the envelope Penn had given her. "Oh, I better double-check the name," she joked. "Oh, good, it does say mine."  No sooner was Bigelow headed in their direction than Tom Hanks announced The Hurt Locker as best-picture winner.

"Ahhh! She's gotta go back," Whitaker said, laughing and clapping. Bigelow, the first woman to win the best-director award, is known for her tough, no-nonsense films. But after winning two of the top prizes for her movie about an bomb defuser in Iraq, she looked like her own mind had just detonated.  "I'm in such shock!" she said, walking off the stage with an Oscar in each hand. Passing her was Hanks, who summed up the feeling of the night.  "What a moment," he said with a laugh.  And with that, the 82nd Academy Awards came to an end.

But before the show... Hollywood's biggest night got rolling with the same nervous hustle as a high school play, albeit cast with the most famous faces on the planet.  An hour before showtime, Oscar winner Javier Bardem (2007's No Country for Old Men) was the first celebrity floating around the empty corridors behind the elaborate Kodak Theatre stage.  But one by one, the stars made their escape from the red carpet, and soon Bardem was hanging out on the loading dock smoking corner alongside girlfriend and Oscar winner Penelope Cruz and The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner.  Just inside, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were secluded inside their dressing rooms, but one guest brought them out, Baldwin still in his street clothes and Martin with his tuxedo shirt untucked and unbuttoned.

That would be Williams, who at first lingered in the hallway, unsure whether to knock. "Is it all right to say a quick hello? I don't want to bother them," Williams said, sounding a little hoarse. He recently had heart surgery, and though his manic energy was more subdued than usual, he rallied for the two co-hosts of this year's Academy Awards.  When Baldwin, all smiles, greeted him, Williams said, "Let's do one of these," chest-bumping the much taller Baldwin. "Whoa!" Williams said, getting a faceful of Baldwin's burly chest.  Outside, with rain coming down in drizzles, foodie celeb Wolfgang Puck lifted spirits by handing out little chocolate Oscars to the crowd of fans.  Backstage, there's always a last-second wardrobe emergency, and this year, Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Lopez, each wearing Armani gowns of shimmering silk with the strength and density of bubble wrap, needed pit stops for hurried repairs to torn material.  The trouble: fragile fabric and long trains, in a tight space, with lots of people not looking where they're walking. Marc Anthony put a hand on Robert Downey Jr.'s shoulder to stop him from snagging Lopez's gown. "I need to be following along with orange traffic cones on the back," Anthony told the Iron Man.

Helen Mirren, Oscar winner for 2006's The Queen, was surprisingly hanging around with teen starlet Miley Cyrus. And when Cyrus stopped for a touch-up at the makeup table corner, the older actress pointed to the greenroom and yelled, "Miley, we are forging ahead in here!" And the Hannah Montana star quickly followed after her.  Earlier, Mirren was having fun on the red carpet with The Last Station co-star Christopher Plummer. Both were nominated for their roles as Leo Tolstoy and his wife, Sofya. Of her companion, Mirren said, "It's fun to have a friend on the red carpet."  When asked who made his suit, Plummer said: "I did. I stayed up all night."  She chimed in, "I hemmed the trousers for him."  At this point backstage, the already cramped entryways started to fill up significantly, and even the biggest stars were being nudged and pushed along.  Ryan Reynolds, extending his hand to Steve Carell, got to say, "I'm a big ..." before they were pulled apart. He caught up to The Office actor and added: "Hey, let me finish the sentence. I'm a big fan, not just a big." Carell said he understood. 

The clock continued to tick until just a few moments before show time.  The main acting nominees began pouring out onto the stage for the opening introductions, a presentation of them all onstage as the curtain went up that was unique to this year.  In the midst of the March of the Nominees, Crazy Heart's Bridges caused another gown accident, planting his foot on the train of An Education star Carey Mulligan and yanking her to a halt. Luckily, no damage.  "Awww! Oh, no," Bridges said, putting his hand on his bearded cheeks in embarrassment. "Just when I thought I had perfected my ability to walk."  Directly behind him was Up in the Air's George Clooney, his rival for best actor.  Clooney put his hands on Bridges' shoulders as they walked and said, "All I know, Jeff, is if you lose tonight, you're in such (expletive)."

Christoph Waltz, supporting-actor winner for Inglourious Basterds, couldn't have been surprised by his victory since it had been predicted ever since the movie premiered last May at the Cannes Film Festival.  But when he came off stage after a characteristically modest speech, the Austrian actor, who before was little known outside of Germany, had an uncertain look on his face.  Carrying his Oscar, he walked with presenter Cruz, who won last year for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Both of their wins have parallels. Cruz's film also premiered at Cannes, but she was far more used to the role of "celebrity."  As she walked him backstage, Bardem came over to meet them, and Cruz said to the new Oscar winner, "Are you nervous?"  Waltz pursed his lips, thinking for a moment before answering. "Yes," he declared finally.

For another winner, it's also been a whirlwind few years.  Ryan Bingham, who won an Oscar — with T Bone Burnett— for The Weary Kind, the theme from Crazy Heart, said backstage, "Me and my band were living out of our Suburban four years ago." Director Scott Cooper "gave me a copy of the script and said, 'If you're inspired to write anything, let me know.'  "And here we are."


Marriage Trouble Rumors Surround Sandra Bullock

(By, Mar 17 2010)

As the tabloid swirl around her husband Jesse James continues, Sandra Bullock has abruptly canceled her participation in the British premiere of 'The Blind Side.' In a statement from Warner Brothers UK, the 45-year-old Oscar winner apologized for not being able to make it across the pond for next Tuesday's London premiere.  "Due to unforeseen personal reasons, a trip abroad to support 'The Blind Side' has been deemed impossible at this time," the statement reads, according to  Though the actress has not revealed what "personal" reasons are to blame for the cancellation, new and fast-moving reports of problems with Bullock's marriage may hold the answers. reports that the actress moved out of the home she shared with James just days before reports of his infidelity hit the tabloids.

The cancellation is not surprising given the voracious appetite of the UK newspapers and the growing tabloid controversy around the allegations concerning James. Those rumors were launched by tattoo model Michelle "Bombshell" McGee (pictured at right), who told In Touch Weekly this week that she and James had engaged in an 11-month affair, "including five weeks of sex."  According to the interview she gave, McGee claims the affair began when she sent James a request to be his "friend" on a social-media Web site. She tells the magazine that the pair had sex "two or three times" the night they met.  Her Web site,, has been crashing off-and-on since the story broke.

Neither Bullock nor James, 40, have commented on the cheating allegations, but James has, interestingly, canceled his Twitter account. He usually Tweets on a daily basis. The couple has been together since 2004. Less than two weeks ago, James teared up as Bullock accepted the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in 'The Blind Side.'  During her Golden Globes acceptance speech, Bullock was more direct, saying: "To my husband, there's no surprise that my work got better when I met you, because I never knew what it felt like for someone to have my back. So thank you."  Bullock's sincere show of love recently for James has not been lost on PopEater readers, who when asked Thursday if they believed the reality star was cheating on his wife, 76% said "NO."  Following Bullock's Oscar win, James told PEOPLE that Bullock "takes my breath away." He went on to add, "I'm so proud of her. Nobody deserves this more and works harder. She's old-school Hollywood -- just gracious and a star who's so much better than you expect them to be."  The couple married in a ceremony at a ranch near Santa Barbara in July 2005.

In 2009, Bullock was a key figure in James' child custody battle with his ex-wife, Janine Lindemulder. As the estranged couple fought for custody of their 5-year-old daughter Sunny, Bullock stood by James, and was even mentioned in James' court statements as being a reason for deserving custody of the child. James claimed he and Bullock would provide a much more stable environment for Sunny, and the court eventually agreed, awarding James custody.


Sandra Bullock, Jesse James Lawyer Up

(By TMZ Staff, Mar 23 2010)

Multiple sources tell TMZ reps for both Sandra Bullock and Jesse James have been interviewing divorce lawyers.  We're told Sandra's reps have been in touch with several high-end divorce lawyers. Our sources say Lance Spiegel, who handled divorces for Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear and Michael Jackson, is the frontrunner.  As for Jesse, we're told his business people have contacted several lawyers as well, but he will not be initiating the divorce. We're told his reps are asking the attorneys "if they'd be interested in taking the case" if Sandra files.

As for whether a divorce petition will be filed, one source simply said, "Something's happening."  As we first reported -- Jesse's ex, Janine Lindemulder, has filed legal papers in their custody case involving six-year-old daughter, Sunny. Currently Jesse has full custody of Sunny. Janine lives in a halfway house, after being locked up for tax evasion.  She believes Sandra will leave Jesse and destabilize the home environment. We've learned Sandra will go to court on June 14 and seek at least partial custody.


Sandra Bullock Hosts Business Dinner, Breaks Down In Front Of Family

(Huffington Post, March 24, 2010)

Sandra Bullock has been hiding out and canceling promotional appearances for 'The Blind Side' since news of her husband's affair broke last week, but reports that she hosted a business dinner Sunday night outside of LA to talk with film producers about a movie in which she would play Meryl Streep's daughter.  "They laughed and had a great time over grilled chicken, salmon and brown rice," a source at the dinner told x17. "You couldn't even tell she was going through something."

Monday night, the website reports, Sandra dined with family and friends and had a harder time keeping it together.  "Sandy broke down at one point but she came right back," the source said. "She is talking about her next move. So sad and tragic. She is talking a lot about emails the kids are sending to her. It's really emotional here right now."  Another source tells Fox411 that Sandra is seeking comfort in her family and that she has talked to Jesse over the past week.  "[Sandra is] keeping to herself and there are people in her life to help her through this, including her family, especially her father," the source said. "Friends have been calling and checking up on her, but she's doing better every day. She will bounce back."


Jesse James Seen Without Ring, Finally Admits 'I Blew It' With Sandra

By Rob Shuter, Pop Eater website, Apr 26th 2010

Ever since Michelle "Bombshell" McGee went public with the 11-month affair that sent Jesse James to rehab for sex addiction, we've been wondering when we'd hear news of a permanent split for Jesse and his Oscar-winning wife, Sandra Bullock. Looks like the time is now -- sources tell me that the new pictures of Jesse sans wedding ring tell us everything we need to know.  "Jesse is finally admitting to himself that he blew it. The marriage of five years with Sandra Bullock is over and he only has himself to blame," a friend of James tells me.  "His stint at the Arizona rehab facility helped Jesse understand what he has done to his wife and his family. He is a beaten man," confides the source. "Jesse removing his wedding ring is a big deal. As long as he wore his wedding ring, he believed there was some hope. Now, he is finally admitting to himself and everyone else that any chance of getting back together with Sandra is dead."
Jesse was seen outside the Seal Beach, California, home he once shared with his wife, in a leather jacket and helmet getting ready for a ride on his bike.  "It's a good thing he likes being alone -- because his bike is the only friend he has at the moment," said one insider. "Jesse still can't believe what a fool he has been. He had everything in the world and blew it."  The first pics of Jesse without his ring were snapped while the West Coast Choppers boss was bringing his daughters to school earlier today, a month after checking into a rehabilitation facility in Arizona. "Jesse checked himself into a treatment facility to deal with personal issues," James' rep told PEOPLE magazine last month. "He realized that this time was crucial to help himself, help his family and help save his marriage."

Sandra, who has been seen hiking in Northern California without her wedding ring and looking somber, is expected to file for divorce later this week.  "It's over between Sandra and Jesse. For a while, it looked like she was going to forgive him but not now," a friend told me a few days ago. "But way too much has happened and after spending time alone, Sandra has realized that she deserves better. It's not going to be easy, but she's an amazingly strong lady. Don't worry, she will survive."


Sandra Bullock Reveals Secret Baby, Files For Divorce

(By Reuters, 29 April 29, 2010)
Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock on Wednesday revealed she had secretly adopted a baby boy, but was divorcing her cheating husband and would raise the child on her own. In a lengthy interview and photoshoot with People magazine, Bullock spoke of her joy at being a mother for the first time, and her sadness at ending her five-year marriage to motorcycle maker and reality TV star Jesse James.

100 Most Influential People Of 2010: Sandra Bullock

(By Betty White, Time Magazine, April 2010)

I have always been a big fan of the lady, as has everybody else, but I hadn't met Sandra Bullock, 45, until we worked together on The Proposal. And the first time we sat down together, it was like we had known each other all our lives. Don't get me wrong, people can tense up around her without any trouble. But she puts you at ease; there's no movie star there at all. Well, she happens to be a bit beautiful, I'll grant, and a bit built, but the human being inside all that gorgeousness is just a delight.

I couldn't be with her in person the night she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side, but it was just so wonderful to see her be appreciated. (I've seen the movie twice, by the way.) What's so appealing about her in it is her honesty. She's been labeled America's Sweetheart, which sounds soft and sweet. Sandra is both of those things, but she also has a strength of her own. She never lets a scene get away from her. She's never just there going through her paces. And you can't take your eyes off of her. America, you wish she were your sweetheart.


'Twilight' Eclipses Bleep-Happy Mtv Movie Awards

(By Sandy Cohen, Associated Press, 7 June 2010)

Sandra Bullock was kissing and telling at the MTV Movie Awards.  Bullock, wearing a glittery black dress, received a standing ovation as she accepted the MTV Generation Award in her first live televised appearance since she split with unfaithful husband Jesse James earlier this year. The 45-year-old actress used her acceptance speech to clear up tabloid rumors - "No. 1: I'm not dead." - and smooch Scarlett Johansson. "No matter what you might have seen or heard or read lately, I love what I do," vowed Bullock, "and I'm not going anywhere."

Bullock was presented with the show's highest honor by her "All About Steve" co-star Bradley Cooper, "The Proposal" co-star Betty White and inexplicably Johansson, the wife of her absentee "Proposal" leading man Ryan Reynolds. When asked why she was there to help hand over the trophy, Johansson hinted she wanted to lay one on Bullock, who awkwardly obliged. "Now that we have done that," said a smiling Bullock, "can we please go back to normal?"

Bullock was fresh off her surprise appearance Saturday night at Spike TV's "Guys Choice" event in Culver City, Calif., but that show won't be broadcast until June 20. She also received a standing ovation there when she accepted the "Troops Choice" award for entertainer of the year, voted on by members of the military and presented by Robert Downey, Jr.  When it came to the awards at Sunday's freewheeling and often-bleeped ceremony at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif., "The Twilight Saga" eclipsed the competition for the second year. "New Moon" sucked up trophies for best movie, kiss, female performance for Kristen Stewart and male performance and global superstar for Robert Pattinson.

"I guess 'Twilight' is really awesome, and I agree," said Stewart. "Woo!" Other winners selected by online votes included "Obsessed" co-stars Beyonce Knowles and Ali Larter for best fight, "Jennifer's Body" star Amanda Seyfried for "scared-as-s--t moment," "Ninja Assassin" star Rain for "biggest badass star," "The Hangover" star Zach Galifianakis for comedic performance and "Up in the Air" co-star Anna Kendrick for breakout star. "This is the coolest moment ever," said Kendrick, clutching her popcorn trophy. "This is going on my coffee table."

Tom Cruise launched the show as "Tropic Thunder" character Les Grossman, a profanity-spewing Hollywood producer. In the opening bit, Grossman used Michael Cera as a human bookend and berated "The Karate Kid" star Jaden Smith as his father Will Smith looked on. He later appeared on stage and danced alongside pop star Jennifer Lopez to Ludacris' "Get Back."  Grossman wasn't the only character whose naughty language was frequently censored. The cast of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" were barely audible as they presented an emotional Ken Jeong of "The Hangover" with the award for "WTF moment." Christina Aguilera, who performed a medley of tunes from her new album, was also muffled as she sang the saucy "Woohoo."

A comically angry Mark Wahlberg, however, was able to slip several bad words past censors during the presentation of the best villain trophy to Tom Felton of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Wahlberg jokingly hung above the stage with Will Ferrell, spoofing last year's bizarro moment when Sacha Baron Cohen landed on the lap of an offended Eminem. Peter Facinelli, who plays vampire patriarch Carlisle Cullen in "The Twilight Saga," also sneaked some profanity onto MTV with his expletive-laden acceptance speech for best movie on behalf of the supernatural series' cast. Facinelli made sure to keep it clean when thanking "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer though.  "I'm not going to curse with you because you're Mormon," he said.

"Parks and Recreation" funnyman Aziz Ansari hosted the 19th annual ceremony. Ansari, who paid tribute to "Avatar" by crooning like R. Kelly, slipped into several characters throughout the two-hour show. Among them: a seedy child stuntman agent, "Precious" and Galifianakis' swagger coach, who accepted the comedic performance award on Galifianakis' behalf.

Sandra Bullock Speaks: Let's 'Go Back To Normal'

(By Popeater, Posted Jun 6th 2010)

When Sandra Bullock stepped onto the stage at the MTV Movie Awards, she received a rapturous standing ovation from the crowd. In the wake of Jesse James' cheating scandal, the audience seemed to be echoing the support the Oscar winner has received from the public. Wearing a sequined black dress, Bullock addressed the crowd, saying she just wants to "go back to normal" and that she's "not going anywhere." Oh yeah, and she planted a kiss on Scarlett Johansson

During his introduction of Bullock, Bradley Cooper told the actress he hoped she knew "how loved you are ... You are once-in-a-generation talent."  Betty White, perhaps the second-most-beloved star of today, called Bullock "grace defined, and I adore you madly." "Sandy, you are a national treasure ... which I know a thing or two about since my ovaries were recently named historical monuments."  Upon arriving on stage, Bullock said, "I'd like to thank Betty for being such an extraordinary woman ... because of the person she is and the life she lives. I want your life."

While never directly addressing James or the scandal, Bullock certainly spoke of it. She made a statement with: "No matter what you might have seen or heard or read lately, I like what I'm doing and I'm not going anywhere. Speaking of what you might have seen or heard, I wanted to clarify some things: Number one, I'm not dead. Number two, everyone has cellulite, not just me."  Bullock continued, saying that the "paparazzi need more flattering lenses. And whoever established the high road and how high it should be should be fired." 

Things then got funny, as she asked Johansson why she was on stage. "This is so weird ... Scarlett, I really love you and all, but this is just uncomfortable. Why are you here? " Bullock asked Scarlett, who is married to Bullock's 'The Proposal' co-star Ryan Reynolds, told her she hoped to be there if Bullock won best kiss, and then the two actresses shared a brief smooch themselves.  Bullock then got serious again, asking: "Can we please go back to normal, because therapy is expensive? Get back to making fun of me.  Bullock closed out her speech by saying that everyone's thoughts should be with those most affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


 Did Sandra Bullock's ScarJo Kiss Kill Her Great Speech?
(By Michelle Ruiz, Pop Eater website, Jun 7th 2010)

The four members at our humble (and unintended) MTV Movie Awards viewing party were raising our glasses and remarking on Sandra Bullock's general coolness when through our cheers, we saw it. Inexplicably, in the midst of Bullock's Generation Award acceptance-slash-"I'm really okay, I promise" speech, co-presenter Scarlett Johansson began sauntering over to Sandy. The fidgeting and awkward glances made it all too clear, but we didn't want to believe it. Was the always-sexy ScarJo -- whose presence was as-yet unexplained -- really moving in for a kiss?  The groans came in unison: "Noooooo!"

After altering her "Poor Sandra" narrative with a jawdropping People cover, in which she nuzzled her adorable adoptive son Louis and confirmed her divorce from now-globally hated husband Jesse James, did Bullock really need an MTV-manufactured girl-on-girl smooch to prove she's 'back to normal?' We think not. In lieu of the softly-lit, super-serious newsmagazine interview route taken by some people, Bullock launched her post-scandal public comeback with an appearance that seemed just like her - funny, cheeky and decidedly unfussy, not to mention set at the absolute least serious of all the many, many awards shows in Hollywood: The MTV Movie Awards.

In a sparkling black Oday Shakar minidress and killer heels, Bullock returned as America's Sweetheart, gracefully accepting MTV's career honor and reminding us why we were so profoundly affected when her once-loving husband cheated on her with a tattooed gal named Bombshell. Bullock seemed brave under the circumstances, smiling and standing tall even while knowing that her every expression was being scrutinized, her every word hung on.  And she delivered. To loyal fans, she promised her marital disaster wouldn't break her - or shatter her ability to do (romantic) comedy. "No matter what you might have heard or read or seen lately, I love what I do and I'm not going anywhere," she said.

In classic Bullock style, she apologized to co-presenter Bradley Cooper for the bomb that was "All About Steve" and guffawed when Betty White advised her against wearing her plunging backless dress backwards. She jokingly clarified out-there tabloid rumors, assuring us that she has never -- ever -- gone two weeks without bathing.  It was a winning speech worthy of the standing ovation she earned en route to the stage -- until The Kiss.  Bullock phrased it perfectly when she turned to Johansson mid-speech and said: "This is so weird, Scarlett. I really love you and all but this is just really uncomfortable. Why are you here?"  Our thoughts exactly. Why was she there? ScarJo claimed she was filling in for her husband and Bullock's "The Proposal" co-star Ryan Reynolds, who was nominated alongside Bullock for Best Kiss. But it turned out she was really there for a standard-issue MTV girl-on-girl lip-lock.

When Bullock clutched Johansson and laid one on her, it was brief and tame. But it was also awkward and unnecessary in the context of Bullock's comeback "moment." It seemed so haphazardly inserted into an otherwise triumphant speech, that even Bullock seemed a little embarrassed. After it was over, though the crowd's hooting, Bullock threw up her hands as if to say 'There, MTV, I did it!'  As if "Sandra Bullock's Awesomely Classy Return to the Public Eye" wasn't an interesting headline for the movie awards, MTV appeared to dredge up a go-to gimmick: the faux-lesbian kiss!

Famously implemented at the 2003 VMA's in a three-way smooch between Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, the ladies-locking-lips shtick has drawn the ire of actual lesbians, who have argued that Hollywood's girl-on-girl stunts serve to trivialize homosexuality. Feminists, for their part, haven't been keen on the way the smooches seem to feature women kissing less because they feel like it -- and more to please heterosexual men. A True/Slant blogger was fine with Bullock gratuitously kissing another woman -- but felt it should have been Betty White instead.

To be fair, we don't know whose idea the kiss was. We also don't know why it was really necessary. In the case of Madonna, Britney and Christina jointly singing "Like a Virgin," a girl-on-girl-on-girl kiss was actually oddly fitting, considering the pop star personalities involved. When Bullock herself laid a big kiss on Meryl Streep when they tied for Best Actress at the Critics Choice Awards, she was using a little humor to make a bold statement -- that the women were not, as the tabloids claimed, cat-fighting their way to the Oscars.

The surprise factor was especially jarring given how reserved and composed Bullock has been throughout the past months, which were no doubt a nightmare for her. As Jesse James gushed to 'Nightline' about how his childhood woes forced him to cheat on her, Bullock stayed mum rather than fight back or try to retort. As 'Bombshell' McGee flaunted nude photos and told tales of her trysts with Jesse, Bullock opted for silence instead of anger -- once again, rising above the drama surrounding her private life.

So what was behind Bullock and Johansson's random lip lock? (If you have any ideas, let us know in the comments.) Even if Bullock was one of the most "mature" women in the room, her speech didn't need awkward spit-swapping to jazz it up. In our opinion, it was a glowing, sincere success all on its own. And it appears to be a huge win in your eyes, too, as 82% of PopEater readers dubbed Sandy's speech "amazing."  As Sandra said after the smooch: "Now that we have done that, can we please go back to normal?"



Details Emerge About Sandra Bullock and Jesse James' Divorce

(By John Mitchell, PopEater website, Jun 30th 2010)

With the ink barely dry on Sandra Bullock and Jesse James' divorce papers, details about the terms of their split are beginning to emerge. The divorce decree, which was filed in Travis County, Texas, on Monday, acknowledges that Bullock is baby Louis Bardo's sole parent. Perhaps most shockingly, however, sources close to the couple tell PEOPLE that the Oscar-wining actress will remain a co-parent to James' three children, Sunny, 6, Jesse Jr., 12, and Chandler, 15.  Despite beginning the adoption process as a couple, the filing cites that "there is no child of the marriage." Thus, Bullock is officially listed as a single mother to baby Louis and James retains full legal custody of his children from previous relationships, meaning the co-parenting situation alluded to by PEOPLE is probably less a formal arraignment than an informal attempt to provide stability for James' children.

During their marriage, Bullock spoke often of her love for James' children, Sunny in particular, whose mother, Janine Lindemulder, has had ongoing problems with substance abuse and spent time in prison for tax evasion.  According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Bullock and James reached a private partition agreement with regard to property purchased during the marriage, and the value of any property not included in the agreement is to be divided equally between the two.  It is noted in the filing that all conclusions with regard to the divorce "are based in part on their [Bullock and James] respect and regard for each other."

The agreement reflects both parties interest in making a clean break. "The parties understand and acknowledge that they are relying on their mutual disclosures in making their agreement," indicating that neither Bullock nor James sought an independent investigation into the other's assets. Similarly, no alimony will be paid and court costs will be covered by the party who incurred them.  Bullock and James married in July of 2005. Shortly after the actress's big win at the Academy Awards, Michelle "Bombshell" McGee claimed to have had an affair with the former 'Monster Garage' host and West Coast Choppers CEO. Shortly thereafter, several other women came forward saying they too had slept with James during his marriage to Bullock.

As media scrutiny intensified, the 'Blind Side' actress disappeared from public view and wasn't seen in public for months. She resurfaced on the cover of PEOPLE magazine, declaring she'd filed for divorce from James and had adopted a baby boy, Louis Bardo Bullock. In June, the actress received a standing ovation when she claimed the Generation Award at the MTV Movie Awards.  Addressing the crowd, Bullock asked that things "go back to normal" and assured her fans that she's "not going anywhere."

Presently, Bullock is said to be splitting her time between Austin, Texas, and New Orleans, where she adopted Louis from and now has a home. According to reports, James is planning a move to Austin, where he is hoping to establish normal relations with Bullock.  "It's not like they're talking every day, but they're in touch about things," a source tells PEOPLE. "It really seems like it's about the kids more than anything."


Bullock Gets Restraining Order Against Alleged Stalker

(By PopEater Staff, Jul 19th 2010)

Sandra Bullock filed for a temporary restraining order on Monday against a man she claims has been stalking her since 2003, E! Online reports. Thomas James Weldon was given a permanent restraining order in 2003 after Bullock reported his repeated attempts to contact her.  Permanent restraining orders last three years in California and after one extension in 2006, the order ended last year.  After the first restraining order in 2003, Weldon checked himself into a Tennessee psychiatric facility. Bullock later sued the state in 2006 to ensure she'd be notified when he was released.  Apparently, that didn't happen.

Per the request filed by Bullock, Weldon showed up in Wyoming emergency room last month complaining of anxiety and sleeplessness. He told hospital personnel that he had driven from Tennessee hoping to meet Bullock at her Jackson Hole, Wyoming home. He also told doctors he communicated with Bullock telepathically and that he was not taking his medications, according to the Associated Press.  "His preoccupation with Ms. Bullock is obvious," Dr. Jiri Danczik, a psychiatrist, wrote in a sworn declaration.  In addition to Bullock, the request lists her adopted son Louis, her nanny, housekeeper and assistant as people who need protection from Weldon.  The hearing to review her latest request is scheduled for August 6.


Bullock’s Love Life History

(By PopEater Staff, Oct 10th 2010)

Before her ill-fated marriage to Jesse James, Sandra Bullock was known for her refusal to settle down. In retrospect, she probably had the right idea. She managed to maintain her wholesome image despite her storied love life and commitment-phobia. Forget her Oscar, that’s talent.  We didn’t really find out who Sandy was until she starred as the heroine in the thriller Speed, but she already had a repertoire of big name films under her belt like Hangmen, Love Potion No. 9 and the critically acclaimed Demolition Man. (Anyone? Anyone?) As is the case with many Hollywood stars, Bullock didn’t stray any further than her film sets to find love. She dated her Love Potion No. 9 co-star Tate Donovan after they met during shooting. The couple dated in the early 90s and even got engaged, but they split after three years. He went on to become engaged to Friends star Jennifer Aniston, but that marriage never came to fruition either.

After filming Speed in 1994, rumors swirled that she was linked to her co-star, Keanu Reeves, but they claimed to be just friends. If they did date, their split was a peaceful one because they co-starred again in 2006’s romance/drama The Lake House and she reportedly turned to him for advice when her marriage crumbled in early 2010. Another “did they or didn’t they?” relationship happened in 1995 when she was spotted stepping out with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, but that was also never confirmed.

Sandra let a movie set become the setting for a personal love story once again when she started dating her A Time to Kill co-star Matthew McConaughey in 1996. They dated on and off for three years even though she, again, maintained they were only friends. However, tabloid photos of the happy twosome, not to mention her move to his hometown of Austin, Texas in 1998, confirmed the romance even if they wouldn’t. Even after the split, they managed to stay close friends.

In 2000, she embarked on a low-key relationship with indie rocker Bob Schneider before a romance with another co-star Ryan Gosling. She met Gosling, who is 16 years younger, on the set of Murder by Numbers, and they were immediately smitten. As was her style, they didn’t confirm they were together, but Sandra did confirm in a Cosmopolitan interview that she would be lying if she said they were just friends.

In 2003, Bullock met motorcycle manufacturer and host of Monster Garage, Jesse James when she brought her 10-year-old godson on a tour of his set as a surprise gift. The unlikely couple started to date after he, with a lot of convincing, scored a date with the star. They married in July 2005 and appeared to be the picture of wedded bliss—she thanked him profusely during her awards sweep in 2010. But things fell apart when a tattoo model, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, revealed that she had been having an affair with James. Several other women soon came forward, and the pair was divorced in June.

After his shocking infidelities came to light, Sandra came out with her own surprise—they had secretly adopted a son, Louis, from New Orleans in January and planned to share the happy news after the awards season buzz had died down. She currently has primary custody of him, and something tells us that won’t be changing anytime soon.



Sandra Bullock Spending 'Quality Time' With Ryan Reynolds

(By Rob Shuter, Pop Eater website, Jan 3rd 2011)

Sandra Bullock has been spending a lot of time with Scarlett Johansson's soon-to-be ex-husband, Ryan Reynolds, leaving many to wonder if the two are romantically involved.  "Sandra loves Ryan," a friend of Ryan's tells me. "They became very good friends when they filmed 'The Proposal,' but they are not a couple, at least not yet."  For now, "They love spending quality time together."  Adding fuel to the rumors, the two celebrated New Year's together at Bess Bistro, which Sandra owns in Texas. New photographs show them sitting next to each other with three other friends -- with Sandra dressed as a flapper.

"They are both newly single and leaning on each other for support," an insider tells me. "Who knows what will happen in the future, but any rumors of them being together and splitting up Ryan's marriage to Scarlett are false."  My source adds: "Sandra would never get involved with a married man after what her ex did to her. She has way too much respect for Scarlett, Ryan, the institution of marriage and herself to do that."  Although, now that Ryan is a single guy, who knows what will happen? I can't wait to find out.

Scarlett 'Devastated' by Ryan and Sandra's Budding Romance

(By Rob Shuter, Pop Eater website, Jan 10 2011)

By now, everyone has heard about the rumored romance between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. That includes the actor's soon-to-be ex-wife, Scarlett Johansson, who, I'm told by friends, isn't too happy.  "Scarlett is a deeply private person, who during her entire marriage was only ever seen and photographed with her husband a handful of times," a friend of the actress tells me. "Now, less than a month after they split that fool has gone and got himself photographed with [Bullock] on New Year's Eve of all days. Of course she is devastated."

Images showed up just over a week ago of Sandra and Ryan celebrating New Year's together at Bess Bistro, which Sandra owns in Texas, depicting the actress dressed as a flapper. A source at the time told me that the two were leaning on each other for support.  Bullock's rep has insisted they are "nothing more than friends." But sources told on Monday that the pair are "very much dating" and that they've even made a trip or two to her Jackson Hole, Wyo., getaway.  No one is suggesting that Sandra, who has clearly moved on from her split with Jesse James, had anything to do with Ryan and Scarlett's downfall, but that hasn't made this any less painful for the 'Lost in Translation' starlet.

"Even if they are not a couple yet, this is very awkward for Scarlett. She too thinks of Sandy as a friend and hates the thought that Sandy is on team Ryan after the breakup, that is if she isn't already his girlfriend," an insider tells me.


Sandra Bullock Not Blindsided By Jesse James' Engagement

(By Jo Piazza, Pop Eater website, Jan 20, 2011)

While the rest of America shook their heads in surprise at the swift engagement between Jesse James and his girlfriend of six months, Kat Von D, one woman took it all in stride: Jesse's ex, Sandra Bullock.  Sources close to Sandy tell PopEater that she was given a heads up that this would come out this week and that while she isn't exactly jumping for joy, she has accepted that Jesse is moving on with his life with Kat. Sandra's biggest priority right now is her adopted son, Louis, and she isn't planning to let anything get her off course from being the best mom she can be.  "It may seem like only yesterday that Jesse and Sandra split, but for her, life has changed so much that it seems like ages ago," our source tells us.

While Sandra and Jesse aren't exactly close friends, they do have ways to keep information flowing between the two of them, and our source says that Jesse knew he needed to let Sandra know that things between him and Kat were serious.  "Sandra knew it was coming, and she was ready," our source says.  It does seem like tattoo queen Kat is a much better match for bad boy Jesse James than the buttoned-up Academy Award winner was. Jesse reiterated that sentiment in a statement about his future wife: "2010 was actually the best year of my life because I fell in love with my best friend," he said.

Sandra Preps Stepdaughter, Sunny, For A Third Mom

(By Rob Shuter, PopEater website, Jan 24 2011)

Now that Sandra Bullock's cheating ex, Jesse James, is engaged to Kat Von D and getting remarried as early as next month, the actress has the heartbreaking task of preparing her beloved stepdaughter, Sunny, for another mommy in her life.  "Sandra loves Sunny with all her heart and will always be in her life. However, she also knows that [Sunny] will have a new mommy soon and will do whatever she needs to do to make sure Jesse's new wife and Sunny have a great relationship even if that means taking a step away," a friend of the actress tells me. 

Jesse was granted full custody of 6-year-old Sunny while he was still married to Sandra after her mother, former porn star Janine Lindemulder, was jailed for tax evasion. Sandra was instrumental in that court decision, telling the court she considered Sunny to be her own daughter.  "Sandra thought Jesse would never be able to hurt her again, but she was wrong," an insider tells me. "When Jesse was in rehab it was Sandy who was a mother to his little girl. Despite what Jesse did, Sandra never walked away from Sunny."  But now Sandra has the awkward task of prepping Sunny for her third mother figure in less than a year.  "She has given that sweet child nothing but love," my source says. "As difficult as this will be, once again Sandra will prove what a lady she is."