Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles – Friday, Nov. 13, 2009
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Left, Michael Oher of the Baltimore Ravens is the real life subject of the new movie, “The Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron (right). Rated PG-13 and opens in theaters on Nov. 20 from Warner Bros. Pictures.
THE BLIND SIDE is the moving and triumphant true story of Michael Oher, once an impoverished and introverted teen, now a professional football player with the Baltimore Ravens. The Tuohys, a wealthy white family who brought him into their home and into their lives, providing an environment for him to excel, intercepted Oher’s unstable childhood in Memphis, TN.
Sandra Bullock (“The Proposal”) stars as the feisty and unstoppable Leigh Anne Tuohy and demonstrates her dexterity as both a comedic and dramatic actor, Tim McGraw (“Friday Night Lights”) costars as Sean Tuohy, Quinton Aaron (“Be Kind, Rewind”) stars as Michael Oher with Oscar winner Kathy Bates, Lilly Collins, Jae Head, and Tony winner Adrian Lenox as Denise Oher. John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie, “The Alamo”) directs the film.
Aaron in his first major role on film gives an impassioned performance in the lead role. Asked if the two were similar in any way he replied, “Well with me and Michael (Oher), we had a lot of similarities as far as our personalities go. We are both gentle giants, keep to ourselves and we’re both the biggest kids in our school. I hadn’t met him so I didn’t want to try to overact or anything but John Lee (Hancock), my coach, coached me and made me feel comfortable with being myself in the role so I just tried to put myself in the position that was based on the script and do the best I could.”
“The Blind Side” is warm and engaging and displays humanity at its core. A story of compassion, it illuminates what genuine concern, commitment and yes, wealth, can do to transform lives on both sides of a situation. However, money is the least of these in the story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family.
Leigh Anne, a conservative social butterfly of the first order along with Sean, her supportive husband, a successful entrepreneur and their two children, daughter Collins and Son, S.J., did the unthinkable within their social circle. They embraced an African American teenage boy, from the projects, abandoned by his mother, Denise, with no place to live and gave him shelter. In the process of doing so, they gave each other a greater sense of purpose, resulting in a near fairy tale ending.
About Michael Oher (from the NFL)
The subject of the New York Times bestseller by Michael Lewis, “The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game,” Oher has been the anchor of the Rebels’ offensive line since being inserted into the starting lineup after the second game of his freshman season. He lined up at right offensive guard during his first season at Mississippi before shifting to the demanding left tackle position as a sophomore. He would end his career with the third-best active consecutive starts string (47) among Southeastern Conference players.
Received more national attention as a senior, as the Southeastern Conference’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient, the honor going to the league’s top offensive linemen. Behind Oher’s drive blocking, the Rebels improved from ranking 84th in the nation in rushing (131.5 yards per game) to 28th (second in the SEC) in 2008 (186.46 yards per game).
New coach Houston Nutt was very confident in putting young quarterback Javon Snead on the field, knowing that Oher would help protect his passer’s blind side. Ole Miss let its left tackle carry them to a 2009 Cotton Bowl victory, as the 2008 squad went from being the 91st-ranked offense in the nation (345.25 yards per game) in 2007 to 29th overall and third in the SEC with an average of 407.62 yards per game in ’08.
Oher was regarded as one of the finest offensive linemen in the nation at Briarcrest Christian School. The EA Sports and USA Today All-American choice was a member of the 2005 Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association All-Star team selected to compete against the Kentucky prep all-stars. He also competed in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, and was named to Rivals.com’s All-American Bowl All-Time Team.
Oher was picked by Tom Lemming/ESPN as the nation’s top offensive tackle and named to the Super Prep All-America team (ranked No. 24 among offensive linemen by that service), which also had him on its Dixie Team. He was rated the fifth-best offensive lineman in the country and eighth-best overall prospect in the South by Scout.com, as well picking up first-team All-American recognition.
As a senior, the first-team All-South selection by Fox Sports and the Orlando Sentinel was credited with 130 knockdown blocks, grading over 90% for blocking consistency, as he did not allow a quarterback sack. As a junior, he posted 83 knockdowns and graded 85%, helping lead Briarcrest to a 10-3 record and 2004 state championship.
Heavily recruited by many major colleges, Oher enrolled at Mississippi in 2005. He moved into the starting lineup in the second game of the season, starting the final 10 contests at right offensive guard. He produced 64 knockdowns, a remarkable total for a team that managed to average only 73.27 yards per game rushing, as the ground attack produced just six touchdowns for the season. For his performance, he was selected Freshman All-American first-team by Rivals.com and The Sporting News.
Oher was named All-Southeastern Conference second-team as a sophomore. He shifted to left offensive tackle in 2006, delivering 83 knockdowns while clearing the way for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to become just the third player in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Rated the third-best offensive tackle in college football by Lindy’s magazine in 2007, Oher received All-American fourth-team accolades. He started all 12 games at left tackle, coming up with 99 knockdowns that included 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, including each of the team’s eight rushing scores. Green-Ellis gained more than 70% of his 1,137 yards rushing (second-best season total by an Ole Miss player) running behind Oher.
Oher contemplated leaving school after his junior year. He originally applied for inclusion in the 2008 NFL Draft, but two days after announcing his intention to leave, the left tackle had a change of heart and withdrew his application. “While I felt good about being projected as a possible first-round pick and had everybody in my corner, it just kept coming back to me that I was leaving some unfinished business at Ole Miss,” Oher said. “It’s really about winning more games and going to a bowl game. I wanted to be a part of making that happen.”