Up until Oscar nominations came out, many pundits believed the lead actress race was a close contest between Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side").
On one hand, "Julie & Julia" got the best reviews (66 at Metacritic compared with 53 for "The Blind Side") and Streep won more precursor awards, including laurels from the film critics in New York, Boston and San Francisco. Streep and Bullock both won Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes, but Bullock beat Streep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Then "The Blind Side" pulled off a surprise Academy Award nomination for best picture, thus assuring Oscar watchers that voters take the flick — dismissed by many cynics as a Lifetime TV movie of the week without artistic heft — quite seriously. That may tip the balance in Bullock's favor, but does it?