Who’s today’s Favorite Movie Icon? A nice guy who’s never, ever finished last.
He’s won back-to-back Oscars. Five People’s Choice Awards.
He’s extremely passionate about everything from World War II to the NASA Space Program.
He’s one of the most popular actors on earth; he’s also written, produced, and directed any number of movies and TV shows.
His is one of the most easily recognizable voices in the world.
He was first introduced to American TV audiences dressed in drag.
Wondering about our fifth and final Favorite Movie Icon Nominee? It’s Tom Hanks. He joins Harrison Ford, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and George Clooney. Not a bad bunch. BTW, which of these guys would you most like to have lunch with, if it was totally off the record/one-on-one and you could discuss anything under the sun? I realize it’s a tough choice.
Tom Hanks has been captivating people with his acting chops and everyman demeanor since 1980. Known in Hollywood as an ‘actor’s actor’, he’s also reportedly one of the most well-liked guys in the business – not particularly easy to be in Tinseltown. In fact, he’s made zillions of dollars playing nice guys who accidentally wind up where most nice guys fear to go. Frequently with Meg Ryan.
Who remembers Bosom Buddies? I recall thinking it was hilarious but feeling vaguely uncomfortable recommending it to people in front of my mother with its racy title. In 1984 Hanks made Splash (and allegedly he was originally singled out to play the wisecracking best friend – a role that ultimately went to John Candy). This solidified his place in comedy, and of course Big really secured it; he soon became known for crowd pleasers like A League of Their Own and Sleepless in Seattle – which brought in the romantic comedy job offers.
Then, in 1993 Hanks’ career took a dramatic turn when he starred in (and won an Academy Award for) Philadelphia, which suddenly changed everything. His portrayal of a gay lawyer who sues his own law firm was the very first mainstream movie to address homophobia in corporate America – it’s been credited with bringing a much-needed awareness of AIDS and AIDS-related issues in this country ever since.
Meanwhile Hanks had decided to tackle a screenplay based on a book that had been languishing for ten years in need of a director and star. The director who ultimately materialized was Robert Zemeckis, and the movie was Forrest Gump. Hanks nailed it and won a second Oscar, becoming synonymous with boxes of chocolate and a kind of innocent American dream that touched millions and millions of viewers. Really and truly – do you know a lot of people who didn’t like Forrest Gump? Sure it won a bunch of Oscars, but in my mind it’s one of those movies you can show to your great-great-grandchildren on whatever weird cyber-device they’re all using, and it will still hold up as a great chronicle of American life. Speaking of great American entertainment, here are two more Tom Hanks words to consider: Toy Story. All of them.
At Christmas we’ll get to see Hanks’ latest film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – a post 9/11 drama which is also rumored to be a major Oscar contender. Never content to just act, he also decided early on to start producing too, which is why we have mini-series like From The Earth To The Moon, The Pacific and John Adams (the guy’s allegedly a pretty serious history and war buff). In my mind, anyone who could get these projects off the ground having also starred in guilty pleasures like The Money Pit and Bachelor Party is a major renaissance man. But that’s just me. Is Tom Hanks your favorite Movie Icon? Let us know and cast your votes for this year’s awards. Now to his movie poll – and remember, we only have space to list four films, so feel free to add your favorites if they’re not here!
1) Forrest Gump
3) The DaVinci Code
4) Toy Story (1-3)