Bullock achieved further success in the following decades in Miss Congeniality (2000), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Crash (2004), The Proposal (2009), and The Heat (2013). She was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side (2009), and was nominated in the same categories for her performance in Gravity (2013). Bullock's greatest commercial success is the animated comedy film Minions (2015), which grossed over US$1 billion at the box office. In 2007, she was one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses. She was also named "Most Beautiful Woman" by People magazine in 2015.
In addition to her acting career, Bullock is the founder of the production company Fortis Films. She has produced some of the films in which she starred, including Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, and All About Steve. She was an executive producer of the ABC sitcom George Lopez, and made several appearances during its run.
Bullock was born in Arlington, Virginia. Her father, John W. Bullock (born 1925), was a United States Army employee and part-time voice coach; her mother, Helga Mathilde Meyer (1942–2000), was an opera singer and voice teacher. Helga was German, while John is from Birmingham, Alabama and has English, French, German, and Irish ancestry. Bullock's maternal grandfather was a German rocket scientist from Nuremberg. John, who was in charge of the U.S. Army's Military Postal Service in Europe, was stationed in Nuremberg when he met Helga. They married in Germany and moved to Arlington, where John worked with the Army Materiel Command before becoming a contractor for The Pentagon. Bullock has a younger sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado, who went on to serve as vice president of Bullock's production company Fortis Films. Until the age of 18, Bullock held American-German dual citizenship. She then held only American citizenship until 2009, when she reapplied for German citizenship.
Bullock was raised in Germany (Nuremberg) and Austria (Vienna and Salzburg) for 12 years, and grew up speaking German. She attended the humanistic Waldorf School in Nuremberg. As a child, while her mother went on European opera tours, Bullock usually stayed with her aunt Christl and cousin Susanne, the latter of whom would later marry German politician Peter Ramsauer. Bullock studied ballet and vocal arts as a child and frequently accompanied her mother, taking small parts in her opera productions. She sang in the opera's children's choir at the Staatstheater Nürnberg. Bullock has a scar above her left eye, caused by falling into a creek when she was a child. She attended Washington-Lee High School, where she was a cheerleader and performed in high school theater productions. After graduating in 1982, she attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she received a BFA in Drama in 1987. While at ECU, she performed in multiple theater productions, including Peter Pan and Three Sisters. She then moved to Manhattan, New York, where she supported herself as a bartender, cocktail waitress, and coat checker while auditioning for roles.
While in New York, Bullock took acting classes with Sanford Meisner. She appeared in several student films, and later landed a role in an Off-Broadway play No Time Flat. Director Alan J. Levi was impressed by Bullock's performance and offered her a part in the TV movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989). This led to her being cast in a series of small roles in several independent films as well as in the lead role of the short-lived NBC television version of the film Working Girl (1990). She went on to appear in several films, such as Love Potion No. 9 (1992), The Thing Called Love (1993) and Fire on the Amazon (1993).