By Kat Giantis
The rumor mill loves to play matchmaker, especially when celebrities are on the rebound. Case in point: Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, whose respective marriages to Jesse James and Scarlett Johansson crashed and burned in 2010.
Seems the longtime pals have an annual tradition of seeing in the New Year in together. But this year, their hang-time has set off an avalanche of hookup speculation.
The "Proposal" pair counted down to midnight at a Roaring Twenties-themed bash (per Radar Online) held at Bullock's Austin, Texas, restaurant, Bess Bistro. The festivities were apparently open to anyone willing to fork over $25 for the special New Year's Eve menu.
Photos of Sandra, 46, and Ryan, 34, sitting side-by-side surfaced on Monday, with the Oscar-winning mom of 1-year-old Louis getting into the spirit of the evening by donning a feathered headpiece and a flapper-like black dress, while the actor kept things casual with a jaunty cap.
According to an E! Online spy, the two "were holding hands at one point" and "were very cute together." Another eyewitness reports they hit the dance floor.
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But it wasn't exactly a lovey-dovey rendezvous: The stars celebrated the dawning of 2011 with a posse of pals.
"A group of old friends that included Ryan and Sandra spent New Year's together," her rep explains to People. "They all had a great time ringing in the New Year as they have in the past ... as nothing more than friends."
An insider reiterates the buddy-buddy nature of their relationship.
Of course, that hasn't stopped talk that their chumminess could lead to something more.
"Sandra loves Ryan," a mole tells PopEater. "They became very good friends when they filmed 'The Proposal,' but they are not a couple, at least not yet ... They love spending quality time together."
E! adds that they've been commiserating, seemingly in a misery loves company kind of way, in the wake of their marital meltdowns.
"They talk on the phone and she counsels him," maintains a source. "She can relate to what he's going through since the whole thing with Jesse and her divorce."
Sandra, however, isn't taking sides in Ryan's split.
On Dec. 28, less than a week after Reynolds filed for divorce, ScarJo popped into Bess with Drew Barrymore, and Bullock made a point of swinging by to say hi to her onetime smooching partner.
What do you think of Sandra and Ryan? Are they better as friends, or would you like to see them become something more? Tell us in the comments.