“Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get” a line associated with Tom Hanks, one of the most popular actors in contemporary cinema. On July 6, 1994, his Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump released in theatres and with it Hanks became a household name — one that intends to stay for a long time to come
On March 27, 1995, when Tom Hanks won the Best Oscar for his outstanding performance in Forrest Gump, he became the second actor in the history of cinema to win consecutive Oscars for Best Acting. The previous year, he won the Oscar for his role in Philadelphia as a gay lawyer suffering from AIDS who sues his company for discrimination. Having struggled for almost eight years since his debut in Armand Mastroianni’s He Knows You’re Alone in 1980, Tom Hanks found his first breakthrough in Penny Marshall’s Big in 1988. The romantic comedy where he becomes an adult overnight was a smash hit and earned him his first Golden Globe award. Films like A League of their own, Punchline, Turner and Hooch and Sleepless in Seattle earned him great respect in Hollywood, but his best was yet to come.
With films like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Apollo 13, he became one of the iconic actors of the 90s. Starring in one masterpiece is a big achievement for most actors. Tom Hanks had the honour to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in Hollywood to expand his resume to a stellar level. Films like Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Toy Story 2 and Road to Perdition are proof enough.
In 1996, Tom Hanks turned to direction with a romantic musical comedy That Thing You Do! Although the film wasn’t a blockbuster, it proved to be a crucial one in Tom Hanks’ career as he moved on to other things besides acting. He began producing films and TV shows like Band of Brothers, From the Earth to the Moon, Big Love, John Adams and Pacific. Among these TV shows, Band of Brothers is still ranked as one of the finest TV series ever made. In the early 2000s, he starred in films like The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can, followed by another critically acclaimed performance in Charlie Wilson’s War. For an actor who has been on his toes since 1980, Tom Hanks’ filmography is spectacular to say the least. Some of his roles in films like Forrest Gump and Cast Away have left a long lasting impression on an entire generation of moviegoers. It’s hard to say what makes him so special. Certainly, he doesn’t score high in terms of looks, but he makes up for all that and a lot more everytime he’s in front of the camera.
Very few actors in Hollywood have achieved the kind of fame and respect which Tom Hanks has earned in the past 30 years. Perhaps, it’s got something to do with his desire to give his best for every project. He’ll soon portray the role of Walt Disney in John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr.Banks and currently he’s acting in Tom Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas.
So who’s the real Tom Hanks? Is he the love struck Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle or the Forrest Gump or Chuck Noland in Cast Away? The answers lies somewhere in between who he really is and what he makes us believe in his films.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.