LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Only Meryl Streep, at age 60, could trill merrily "Turns out, I'm a bit of a slut!" -- and get a Golden Globe nomination for it.
Streep is enjoying a second lease on her acting life after three years of commercial and critical success in ever-changing roles, and she is delighting a new generation of fans not even born when she won her last Oscar for 1982's "Sophie's Choice."
She earned double Golden Globe nominations on Tuesday for diverse roles of eccentric real-life cook Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" and a mature divorcee who revels in an affair with her ex-husband in the upcoming comedy "It's Complicated." Hence the line, "I'm a bit of a slut!"
Sandra Bullock also is enjoying somewhat of a rebirth at age 45, as she declared herself "slack jawed with awe" at getting two nominations for romantic comedy "The Proposal" and feel-good football drama "The Blind Side."
She appeared in no movies in 2008 and only one in 2007, "Premonition." While a third 2009 film, "All About Steve," failed to stir much interest, Bullock nevertheless surprised audiences with the success of "Blind Side."
Both she and Streep are bucking Hollywood convention that says once actresses reach a certain age in their mid 30's, good roles dry up and what's available are middling supporting parts while the best jobs go to youngsters.
"Older women is a category Hollywood has written off, but this proves that nobody knows nothing. No matter all the surveys they take and all the focus groups, someone can come along and have their greatest success at this point in life," said Pete Hammond of awards website www.The Envelope.com.
"Streep and Bullock have been smart enough in their choices to have a career that lasts more than a few minutes and now they are reaping the rewards," he said.
For Streep, the recognition by Golden Globe voters follows a run of roles that have thrilled audiences, including the fierce fashion boss of "Devil Wears Prada" (2006), hippie single mom in musical "Mamma Mia!" and severe nun in "Doubt."
Those roles reminded 21st century movie-goers just why Streep is regarded as among the greatest living film actresses, and seemed a long way from the intense parts, many with foreign accents, that made Streep's name three decades ago.
In the 1980s, she won Oscars for Holocaust drama "Sophie's Choice" and "Kramer vs Kramer," about two parents battling for custody of their children.
After more than 70 other awards, Streep "almost plays like a newcomer" said Dave Karger, senior writer with Entertainment Weekly. "I think all the awards voters are realizing that Streep has not won an Oscar in 25 years -- before Carey Mulligan was alive," Karger said.
Britain's Mulligan, 24, the fresh face of "An Education" also earned a Golden Globe nod on Tuesday, along with Emily Blunt, 26, for "The Young Victoria" and Gabourey Sidibe, 26, for "Precious".
While Mulligan and Blunt are known as up-and-coming actors, Sidibe is completely new to audiences. All three are considered Oscar contenders, and there is no doubt that the Golden Globes will elevate their position in the media spotlight.
But alongside them will be veterans like Streep and Bullock, who later in life are finding the kind of films and roles audiences and critics want to see.
The Golden Globes will be given out on January 17. Oscar nominations are revealed on February 2, and those awards handed out on March 7.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte