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Oscars all around for The Blind Side
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Oscars all around for The Blind Side

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

The Blind Side
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According to my sweetie, an expert in Chinese and Vedic astrology, Sandra Bullock's a "fire tiger." Since next year falls in a fire tiger sign, that could mean good things for the perky (and now blonde) actress. All I know is that her performance in The Blind Side (based on a true story) is one of the best I've ever seen Ms. Bullock turn in in a film loaded with excellent acting chops, including that of newcomer Quinton Aaron (who plays a homeless kid who becomes a national football superstar).

Bullock plays a sports mom of two wonderful kids (Jae Head, and Lily Collins), who takes an interest in a quiet black teen after she finds him while she and her family are on their way home one night.

"What's he wearing?" she asks her husband (Tim McGraw, and no, not the country music star). She pulls up beside him and asks the kid, who is dressed in a long T-shirt and short pants and oversize sneakers, where he's going. "To the gym," he says in a quiet monotone and continues on his way, a resigned slope to his massive shoulders.

After a moment's deliberation, Bullock, a feisty go-getter of a woman, makes her husband pull the car around and insists the kid come with them. This starts a long association in a Southern town as Bullock helps a coach who gets the kid into the Christian school where he works. The coach was contacted by a mechanic the kid lives with, since the kid's mom is so addicted to crack she can't even remember his father's name. They also eventually get the teachers on board with their helping effort, although the teachers at first think the kid's academics will fail him in a more scholastically challenging environment.

Everyone is pleasantly surprised as the quiet giant, who writes about feeling isolated in the all-white school, and this is the beauty of The Blind Side. The film is reminiscent of other sports-related films like The Mighty Ducks and Remember the Titans, only this film is much more of a tribute to one young man's incredible courage and his ability to lift himself out of the extreme poverty and violence of his "project" life and make a mark in the world of sports. It's also a joy to watch Bullock work with the inimitable Cathy Bates (who plays a quirky and determined tutor who helps the kid get his grades up to qualify for a football scholarship to Old Miss).

Definitely at the top of many lists (including my own) this year, The Blind Side is one of the most moving films to come out of Hollywood in a long time, and one that sets the tone for other holiday movies to come. Also, you need not worry that this is going to be one that will leave you with a cloyingly sweet aftertaste, as there's enough grit and intensity and realism in this film to satisfy even the most cynical moviegoer. Heck, even the Gossip Girl wannabes who sat behind me at the screening were sniffling at the end, and many clapped and cheered as the credits rolled, featuring the real-life football player and the family who rescued him in snapshots. Go see it and take a few hankies, because - trust me - this one will bring the tears and warm your heart right up.

Also, in a fair world, not only will Bullock get an Oscar nod, but young Jae Head, who plays her outspoken son, should get one, too, as should young Quinton Aaron, who plays the dispossessed young man with such heartfelt realism. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Bullock next year.

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