Sandra Bullock
Credit: CLIFF WATTS for EW

And EW’s Entertainer of the Year is…Sandra Bullock!

She is the gift that keeps on giving. First the 49-year-old Oscar winner teamed up with the uproarious Melissa McCarthy in Paul Feig’s winning buddy cop comedy The Heat. Then, as Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, Bullock gives an emotionally naked performance that will likely earn her an Oscar nomination. Bullock’s tremendous talent and range — to say nothing of the woman’s trademark grace and good humor in good times and bad — is what earned her the top spot on our annual list of the most exciting performers in 2013.

Bullock’s one-two punch demanded a fair amount of give and take from the actor. When she signed on to The Heat Bullock didn’t expect to be playing straight man to McCarthy’s firehose-blast of a performance. “Once I realized that that drove the film I had to step back,” she says. “Otherwise I would’ve been fighting for something that would’ve ended up on the cutting room floor. It wasn’t what I was hoping for but the end result was the success of the film and people liking us together.” While Bullock nixes any talk of The Heat 2, she says she’s keen for another project with her fast friend McCarthy. (Hollywood, get on this!)

She was a true collaborator on Gravity as well. It was her idea for instance that her character Dr. Ryan Stone was in a raw state of mourning for her dead child. (Originally, the script called for her character to have a child waiting for her back on Earth.) “What if she had absolutely nothing to fight for?” Bullock says she proposed. “She’s lost a child, there’s nothing back home, she’s a person who’s basically a machine. That was my idea and Alfonso was so open to it.”

And as for squashing talk of another Gravity, Bullock appreciated Cuaron’s alternate ending idea of George Clooney falling from the sky on top of her at the end. “The last scene you just see us on top of each other, limbs everywhere,” she imagines with a laugh. “Our hands intertwine with our last breath of air and we die on top of each other clutching the Earth.”

Sandra Bullock is joined by 15 more Entertainers of the Year, including the masterminds behind Breaking Bad, Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey, girl on fire Jennifer Lawrence, a very Grumpy Cat, and more. Pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Tuesday Nov. 26, for more.

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