Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock has returned to theater screens for the summer 2018 film “Ocean’s 8,” leading a female cast in turning the “Ocean’s 11” caper/comedy template completely on its head. As Debbie Ocean, estranged sister of Danny, Bullock leads a team of women (including Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling and Rihanna), whose ambitious goal is to pull off a heist at the security-heavy Met Gala. Let’s take a tour of some of her best performances with our photo gallery above of Bullock’s 12 greatest films, ranked from worst to best.
The winner of an Oscar, a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, Bullock is no stranger to an awards ceremony red carpet. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. She ran the gauntlet for “The Blind Side” in 2009, winning the Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG Award, and picked up an additional SAG prize along with the ensemble for “Crash” in 2005. Her lead role in “Gravity” (2013) snagged her another Oscar nomination as Best Actress, as well as bids at the Globes and SAG. The Globes have nominated her three additional times as Best Comedy Actress for “While You Were Sleeping” (1995), “Miss Congeniality” (2000), and “The Proposal” (2009).
What is striking about Bullock’s career is the range she has displayed in her performances, from raunchy comedy (with Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat”), romance (“Hope Floats,” “While You Were Sleeping”), drama (“Crash,” “A Time to Kill”) and action (“Speed,” “Gravity”).
Which of these movies is your favorite. Our gallery includes all of the awards-related work mentioned above and a few roles for which she should’ve received Oscar nominations.
12. THE NET (1995)
While it was considered cutting-edge at the time, Irwin Winkler‘s film has probably aged the least gracefully, given the innumerable changes in the internet over the past 23 years. Still, there’s Bullock’s performance as a systems analyst who becomes involved with a scam artist (Jeremy Northam), whose intention is to kill her and take over her identity.
11. HOPE FLOATS (1998)
In Forest Whitaker‘s third film as a director, Bullock plays a housewife who learns that her marriage is over on a daytime talk show featuring her husband (Michael Paré). Shaken, she moves back with her precocious daughter to her Texas home town to live with her mother (Gena Rowlands), where she is reunited with a former high school classmate (Harry Connick, Jr.) whom she realizes could be The One.
10. TWO WEEKS NOTICE (2002)
This is the best Donald Trump performance in a Sandra Bullock film ever. Trump’s presence aside, “Two Weeks Notice” is a delightfully insubstantial romcom in which she plays a historic preservation lawyer who does battle with a pig of a real estate developer (Hugh Grant). Despite the potentially ideological points-of-view of each of the characters, the film never descends into polemics, but instead it concentrates on their characters.
9. THE PROPOSAL (2009)
“The Proposal” finds Bullock in power mode as Margaret, a Canadian executive who is facing deportation unless she can wed an American citizen. Anxious to retain her position at a publishing house, she enlists her executive assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to pose as her fiancé.
8. MISS CONGENIALITY (2000)
In this action comedy, Bullock portrays Gracie Hart, an FBI agent who must go undercover as a beauty pageant contestant to find a domestic terrorist who plans to disrupt the Miss United States ceremony. To see Bullock’s Gracie, a tough nut at the FBI, wriggle into beauty pageant necessities is an absolute hoot.
7. A TIME TO KILL (1996)
Bullock delivered a strong performance in Joel Schumacher‘s crime drama as law student Ellen Roark who is assisting in the defense of a black father who sought revenge on the men who raped his 10 year-old daughter. The racist elements in the small Mississippi town vow vengeance on the legal team, and Roark winds up being assaulted.
6. CRASH (2005)
To this day, “Crash’s” Oscar victory over “Brokeback Mountain” as 2005’s Best Picture remains one of the most controversial in the history of the Academy. Yet none of that controversy can touch Bullock’s performance as Jean, a character that allows Bullock to draw on all of her dramatic chops as the victim of a carjacking.
5. THE BLIND SIDE (2009)
Bullock won her first Academy Award, her first Golden Globe Award and her second Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as the real-life Leigh Anne Tully, a Memphis socialite who takes in homeless high-school football player Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). While I think that few would attest that Bullock gave the very best performance of 2009 in “The Blind Side,” the fact that the much-liked actress acquitted herself well in this inspirational hit was enough to win the Oscar voters’ ballots.
4. WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995)
Though rarely remembered today, “While You Were Sleeping” was one of Bullock’s biggest critical and financial hits. Bullock plays Lucy, a token collector for the Chicago’s transit system who saves commuter Peter (Peter Gallagher) after he is pushed onto the tracks. As Lucy is drawn into Peter’s world, she finds herself becoming attracted to Peter’s brother Jack (Bill Pullman).
3. THE HEAT (2013)
In Paul Feig‘s hugely successful odd-couple pairing, Bullock plays an egotistical by-the-book FBI agent who is forced to work with a dirty loudmouth Boston cop (McCarthy) on a case aimed at bringing down a local mobster. The casting of these two actresses is inspired, particularly in the case of Bullock, who can play uptight with the best of them, and seeing her get down and dirty to McCarthy’s level is an absolute joy.
2. SPEED (1994)
The film that made Bullock a star. Although not her first film — Bullock had made 10 films prior to “Speed” — her performance as Annie Porter (nicknamed “Wildcat”), a bus passenger forced to take the wheel of the vehicle which will explode if it drops below 50 mph, seemed like a breath of fresh air. Her Annie was both funny and courageous, a winning combination of traits that stuck to Bullock herself, and her inherent likability, so evident here, is one of the reason why Bullock became a star.
1. GRAVITY (2013)
Bullock snared the role of a lifetime in Alfonso Cuarón‘s outer space masterpiece as Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first space mission. She is paired with Lt. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran commander who is about to retire. For the film’s first half, Bullock and Clooney luxuriate in what is essentially a two-hander, but the second half is essentially a one-woman show for Bullock, who rises to the occasion and soars.