updated 02/02/2010 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/02/2010 AT 1:05 PM ET
She didn’t set an alarm clock last night. In fact, she wasn’t even sure she’d left the phone ringer on.
After a long career that has taught her to be wary of raised expectations, Sandra Bullock slept like a baby on Monday night – and was awakened early Tuesday by her publicist, who informed her that, yes, she’d secured her first Academy Award nomination, for best actress in The Blind Side.
The call barely woke Bullock’s slumbering husband, Jesse James. “He literally rolled over in the dark and he said, ‘Congratulations,’ ” – and then pointed out that she’ll “forever” have an Oscar-related prefix attached to her name, the actress, 45, told PEOPLE just after getting the good news.
The couple had to wait until later in the morning to properly chat. “I had to leave the room so he could continue sleeping – the man actually works!” Bullock said with a laugh.
The down-to-earth star insisted she isn’t exactly basking in Oscar’s glow. “There’s no basking – I’m just chewing the coffee grounds in the horrible cup of coffee I made myself this morning. I made a French press in the dark,” said Bullock.
On a day that would be special for any actress, Bullock was typically self-deprecating. “No one expected much of this film, so every time these things have happened … I literally – I am still blown away,” she said.
She reserved most of her excitement for writer/director John Lee Hancock and producer Gil Netter – “the two people who knew Blind Side would be a story that people would want to see when no one else did, including me. That, I can get emotional about and moved by.”
How will she mark the momentous day? It will be business as usual, said Bullock: “We’re gonna do all the things we do every single day. There’s a child and there’s dogs and all that stuff. We have a tightly run ship that’s well-oiled, so I have to do my part.”