On the biggest night of her professional life, Sandra Bullock was typically self-deprecating, saying the Academy Award was never on her radar and urging up-and-comers to just be themselves rather than look up to her.
“I didn’t aspire to this,” the actress, 45, told reporters after winning the Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side on Sunday. “I was in awe of it. I admired it. I got to watch it like everyone else did, or present, but it wasn’t something that I said, ‘One day when I get the Oscar.’ ”
Now that that day has arrived, she still doesn’t see herself as an inspiration to younger actors. “Don’t aspire to be in these shoes. Walk in your own,” she said. “Everyone’s unique, and that’s what makes people exciting to watch, I think. So, just savor what you are and not what everyone else wants you to be.”
Bullock wouldn’t reveal what husband Jesse James whispered to her the moment her name was announced, but she jokingly expressed disbelief that he had tears in his eyes during her speech.
“Did he cry? He doesn’t cry,” she said. “He had something in his eye. It’s very dusty from the dance music. I’d never divulge what Jesse says unless he divulges it first. It’s between me and the man.”
Later, at the Academy Awards Governors Ball, James admitted he was “feeling everything” and was incredibly proud of his wife of five years. “It’s 10 [p.m.] now, we usually go to bed around 9, so we’re partying,” he added. “She looks amazing. I like her like this or first thing in the morning, equally as well.”
PHOTOS: Sandra Bullock’s Fab Life After 40!
Meryl Streep ‘An Awesome Broad’
Asked to elaborate on two things she mentioned in her acceptance speech – kissing Meryl Streep at the Critics’ Choice Awards and being thrown into a pool by George Clooney many years ago – Bullock was only half accommodating.
“No one realizes how much fun Meryl Streep is,” she said. “She’s an awesome broad, and I think she’s an extraordinary actor, but she’s also a really free, fun human being.”
And the cryptic Clooney incident? “You might want to ask George about that,” she said. “It was funny to everyone else but me. It was actually really funny, but not at the time.”
Bullock doesn’t plan to change much, professionally or personally, in her new life as an Oscar winner. That begins Monday, when she has some familiar things planned. “I will go to the grocery store,” she said, “and I will pick up a very sweet 6-year-old from school.”
• With reporting by SHAYNA ROSE ARNOLD
PeopleTV Archive: Watch Sandra Bullock’s Changing Looks