Tom Hanks is easily one of the most recognizable persons on television today, and with good reason. Winner of two Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor, Hanks is among the most versatile actors alive, starring in romantic comedies, intense dramas, and everything in between.
His latest film, Saving Mr. Banks, is yet another example of Hanks’ versatility and excellent acting skills. Why wasn’t he nominated for Best Actor for this film? We can’t be sure, but here are twelve reasons that he should have been.
1. He’s Charming
If you have ever seen Hanks’ portrayal of Joe Fox in the 1999 film You’ve Got Mail, chances are good that he charmed the pants off you. With a delightful mixture of gentleness, sarcasm, and a healthy dose of self-confidence, Hanks is the perfect embodiment of charm.
And as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, this same charm is displayed with at least as much zeal and wit as Disney himself must have exuded. Hanks is the only actor so far to portray Disney, and there are few actors who could have done as well.You’ve Got Mail, consequently, earned Hanks the American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor.
2. He’s Honest
One of the major factors in any film that sets a win apart from a nomination is honesty. The more honest and genuine an actor can appear in a film, the more easily viewers can immerse themselves in the film.
Hanks’ depiction of Andrew Beckett in the award-winning 1993 film Philadelphia, for example, is one of the most honest and emotional performances in film even today.
Hanks won Best Actor from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards for Philadelphia, as well as the MTV Movie Award for Best Actor and the Silver Bear for Best Actor. As Disney, Hanks’ acting honesty is unmatched.
3. He’s Believable
Before Saving Mr. Banks came out, many critics were concerned that Hanks was too recognizable for the role, and that we would be too familiar with Hanks to see him as Walt Disney. This is not the case, however, as Hanks believably immerses himself in every role he undertakes.
In such films as The Da Vinci Code, Charlie Wilson’s War, and A League of Their Own, Hanks becomes his characters so plausibly that you forget who the actor is until the movie is over.
Why else would Matt Groening choose Tom Hanks to appear in a cameo role in The Simpson’s Movie, saying that the U.S. Government had to buy some of his credibility since they had no more themselves?
4. He Makes You Fall in Love with Him
Ladies, if you haven’t fallen in love with Tom Hanks yet, you are among a very small minority. If his early roles in romantic comedy haven’t made you fall yet, his later more dramatic roles certainly will.
In fact, he won a Golden Globe Award for his romantic role as Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle, and was nominated for a MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in Cast Away, for the infamous kiss-in-the-rain scene with Helen Hunt.
Not to mention, anyone who has grown up watching old Disney movies is already in love with Walt Disney anyway.
5. He’s Quirky
One of the greatest things about Tom Hanks is how quirky he is. Disney was a very quirky man, and Hanks captured that attribute to an absolute tee. Woody, the cowboy action figure in the animated hit Toy Story, is only one of many examples of this quirkiness that is inherently Hanks.
Although Hanks was nominated for two Kid’s Choice Awards, two MTV Awards for his performance with Tim Allen, and an Annie Award, he never actually won an award for his work in the Toy Story series. Apparently, Toy Story was as under-appreciated a film as Saving Mr. Banks when it comes to awards.
6. He’s Witty
With all the charm, honesty, and lovability that Hanks puts into almost every film, it seems remarkable that he can be so funny and witty at the same time! The acclaimed Forrest Gump is one of the most widely-known depictions of Hanks’ wit, earning him another American Comedy Funniest Actor Award.
Not to mention, it takes a brave man to take on such a loaded role as that of Forrest Gump, and to come at it with such a light-hearted attitude. This wit can also be seen in films like Big, and even in his two appearances on the comedy show 30 Rock.
7. He Has an Asteroid Named After Himself
Ok, so having an asteroid named after yourself admittedly isn’t a great reason to be nominated for Best Actor, but it is a testament to Hanks’ ability to completely become any character he portrays.
Because of his role as Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 and his continued support of NASA’s space program, Asteroid 12818 Tomhanks will still be orbiting in space long after the actor has passed. Hanks has often said that he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up.
8. He’s Fearless
Many of Hanks’ most controversial roles include those of a homosexual man with AIDS in Philadelphia, a college professor seeking the truth about religion in The Da Vinci Code, and a military hero who has to make tough decisions after D-Day in Saving Private Ryan.
However, his most fearless role is that of Chuck Noland in Cast Away. The entire film is laden with a raw energy that tears at your heart, and a level of basic humanity that had to require every ounce of acting ability that Hanks had. He won two Best Actor Awards for Cast Away and was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best On-screen Duo with Wilson the volleyball.
9. He’s Emotional
Most of Hanks’ dramatic roles require a deep amount of emotion that you don’t often find in men who also play the kind of hard-ass that you see in Saving Private Ryan or The Green Mile.
It is his roles in these exact movies, however, that display his emotion at its best: controlled, but heart-felt. In Saving Mr. Banks, Hanks portrays a different kind of emotion that is nonetheless nomination-worthy.
In looking back on his childhood, Hanks as Disney helps us see how personal an effort was required in the creation of one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time.
10. He’s Versatile
From the cute and eccentric Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail, to the wise and mysterious myriad of characters he voices in Polar Express (have you ever heard a better Santa Claus?); from the strong and forceful Charlie Wilson, to the dark and brooding Michael Sullivan in Road to Perdition, Hanks can play such a variety of characters that it is hard to definitively place him as best in any genre.
His depiction of Walt Disney adds yet another dimension to his well-rounded portfolio of characterizations.
11. He Has Won Fistfuls of Awards on His Own Talent
Hanks is the winner of three Favorite Motion Picture Actor Awards, a Favorite Motion Picture Star in Drama Award, and a Favorite All-Time Entertainer Award from the People’s Choice Awards.
He has also won a Lifetime Achievement Award in Television by the Producers Guild of America, the Britannia Award for Excellence in Film, an AFI Life Achievement Award, and even five different Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries.
He currently totals thirty-eight award wins and fifty-seven award nominations. Maybe the Academy decided he didn’t really need any more.
12. He’s Still Good-Looking
Nobody in their right mind would say that Tom Hanks was a bad-looking guy. He is utterly adorable in Saving Mr. Banks, and his other recent films such as Captain Philips and Charlie Wilson’s War only serve to reinforce this notion.
Despite the grey in his once-black and curly hair, Hanks has aged well since Forrest Gump and A League of Their Own.
While being attractive is not a good enough reason to earn a Best Actor nomination, it certainly helps for a man who has aged as gracefully as Hanks. And with a wife as lovely as Rita Wilson, Hanks likely has no choice but to look good.