1. The Blind Side (2009)
Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates
In 2006, writer Michael Lewis’ book The Blind Side: Evolution Of A Game presented an in-depth and honest look at the tough road to success taken by Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher. With Oher as the main character, Lewis’ text followed the resilient guy from his days growing up in the slums of Memphis through his years fighting against educational headaches and racial discomfort, all on his way to an NFL contract. As written by Lewis, Oher’s story could make for one hell of a sports biopic.
And we’re still waiting for it. Director John Lee Hancock’s 2009 adaptation of Lewis’ book certainly isn’t that; no, The Blind Side is actually a movie about Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), the football-loving, white mother of two who took Oher into her home and looked after him during his high school and college years. Why? Because Hollywood loves a good white savior story, and The Blind Side, which depicts Oher as little more than the black version of Lenny from Of Mice And Men, is arguably the film industry’s most egregious example of reductively color-bland storytelling.
Insult, meet injury: In a move that showed the Academy’s pussyfooted inclinations, Oscar voters elected the commercially gigantic The Blind Side as a Best Picture nominee, and, furthermore, crowned Bullock as the year’s Best Actress recipient. If cheap southern accents, blond hair helmets, and artificial emotions are what makes an acting performance “award-worthy,” then The Blind Side is Bullock’s Meryl Steep moment, for sure.