By Michaela Zanello

In recent years, Sandra Bullock has churned out a number of second-rate films, including “Premonition” (2007), “The Lake House” (2006), and “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” (2005), and it was starting to appear as though her acting career was about to be sucked into an inescapable vortex headed down the john. Nevertheless, this Virginia-born underdog wasn’t prepared to give up quite that easily, and in 2009, she got her chance to make a comeback.

After starring in the romantic comedy, “The Proposal,” and in the true-life sports drama, “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock scored the most commercial success of her career. Worldwide, “The Proposal” took in more than $314 million at the box office making it her top grossing film to date, and during the opening weekend of “The Blind Side,” the film earned an impressive $34.1 million, a record-high for Bullock.

Her coups do not stop there, however. Not only did “The Proposal” and “The Blind Side” earn Bullock dollar sign glory, but her roles in these films also brought her plenty of critical laurels too, with the icing on her laurel wreath being her double Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in both the dramatic and comedic categories. Bullock was previously nominated for Golden Globe Awards for her roles in “Miss Congeniality” (2000) and “While You Were Sleeping” (1995).

In “The Proposal,” Bullock plays Margaret Tate, an aggressive publishing powerhouse who isn’t used to hearing ‘no’ for an answer. Margaret soon finds her career in jeopardy, however, when she is denied a visa and is faced with the possibility of being deported back to her native Canada. In the events that ensue, Bullock is hilarious, and it is largely due to her innate capacity for comedy that this formulaic film achieved as much success as it did.

For her dramatic role in “The Blind Side,” Bullock switches gears to play Leigh Anne Tuohy, a feisty Southerner with a heart of gold who takes in a homeless youth and helps him reach his full potential. Bullock initially had reservations about accepting this role, however. But after meeting with the real-life Leigh Anne, she decided to commit. Bullock reportedly told the film’s director, John Lee Hancock, “It’s the hardest thing I will ever do. And because of that, I should do it.”

2009 has definitely been an amazing year for Sandra Bullock, who is now giving Julia Roberts a run for her money as America’s reigning sweetheart. In light of her recent accolades, the typically unassuming actress appears to be genuinely thrilled and grateful. According to the L.A. Times, Bullock has said, “I am beyond stunned. Just to be included in the company of these amazing women I have so admired through the years has left me slack-jawed with awe.”