Sandra Bullock says Oscar nomination ‘feels so otherworldly’

Sandra Bullock arrives for the 71st Golden Globe Awards show.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Sandra Bullock, nominated for an Oscar for her lead performance in “Gravity,” said Thursday morning that she had every intention of taking a break from acting when director Alfonso Cauron approached her about the role. Bullock spoke with The Times about her first nomination since her Oscar win for “The Blind Side”:

The Times: It’s always nice to wake up to good news instead of what’s on the news.

Bullock: I’m in my kitchen trying to pull together lunch for a 4-year-old [laughs].


In Texas?

I’m in L.A. Life is on such a nice little schedule. When you get an interruption like this, things switch to an earlier schedule.

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You’ve been down this road before. How is this different to past nomination days?

It’s only my second time, so I don’t know how anyone gets used to it. I already had the most unbelievable life and work experience when I made “Gravity.” When something is received like “Gravity” -- which was completely unexpected, because the studio will tell you, they thought it was going to be one of those write-off situations -- you don’t expect any more. It’s already an embarrassment of riches.

When something like this comes along, it’s humbling. I don’t know how to explain it. Some people get nominated a lot. I don’t. I don’t take anything for granted at any moment. I don’t assume anything is coming my way.

It feels so otherworldly. It’s not a competition. It gets turned into one in the outside world. Honestly, I am beyond honored and happy. I don’t need anything else. I already have the victory.

If you hadn’t been in “Gravity,” what other role could you have seen yourself taking?

No other role. I didn’t want to work. I was in Texas. I had no intention of leaving my house. I have a new little boy. I wanted to get my bearings and just focus on life and being a mom. I had no intention of working, period. Alfonso [Cuarón, the director] knew this. Someone said, Why don’t you just go down and talk to her? He did. I was looking at nothing.

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I longed to work with Alfonso. I had seen so much of his work.

When you do movies like “Speed 2,” you don’t have directors saying, “You know what? I’m going to work with her one day!” It was always a joke on my part saying, “Maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to work with someone like him.” And when the opportunity came, I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer but I was smart enough to climb aboard.

I didn’t know what we were doing. You just sort of let go and have this experience. Even if the movie wasn’t going to be a huge success, you weren’t making an Alfonso Cuarón movie because you thought you were making a huge commercial success. You’re making it because you got to work with Alfonso.

What other performances had an impact on you this year?

This year -- I think we see this every year -- oh my gosh, filmmaking has never been better. It just gets better! Because of a plethora of things. Technology. Pushing the envelope, what audiences want to see. What they allow to be shown. I loved so many movies. The way you respond to movies is where you are in life.

I love the movie “Her.” I said, “I don’t know what happened to me afterward, but there was this shift.” It threw me so off in a good way. Scarlett Johansson -- you never see that girl’s face. But she conveys everything in that movie.

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Matt McConaughey -- I’ve known him for so long. When you know someone, it’s kind of hard to watch them onscreen. He just took my breath away. “Nebraska,” I didn’t know what to expect. You watch the performances of seasoned actors. I got a good lesson on what it’s like to throw away a line so the audience hears it better. The comedic subtlety. You go from a little black-and-white film to two hours of watching Robert Redford sink in a boat with not a word except [expletive]. The business we’re in, you have all these moments to feel things.

What would you have done instead of acting?

I probably would have been a hairdresser [laughs]. I think I’m a frustrated hairdresser. I just want to mess with everybody’s hair! I don’t know.

I was making movies -- my parents were artists. They were opera singers. I was in household of crazy artists and technicians. I just made movies and wrote stories and recruited people to perform in them and watch them. That’s just someone who needs to control everybody. A hairdresser is the next best thing.


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