Tom Hanks is the biggest star in Hollywood and has been for over two decades. From a start as a comedian, first on TV in Bosom Buddies and then in film with movies like Bachelor Party, Hanks got his big break, first in 1984’s Splash, then exploding into popularity in 1988 with his first Oscar nomination for Big. Since then, he has gone on to win two Oscars, four Golden Globes, and his work with HBO on miniseries like From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific has won him six Emmys.
Hanks is often called the “Jimmy Stewart of our generation” in that despite being the star he is, he’s a genuine person; the everyman who becomes someone with whom the audience can instantly relate. Many actors, especially comic actors, really just play a heightened version of themselves in film. Hanks began his career doing this, but soon disappeared into his roles and those roles defined some of the finest cinema of the last 30 years. Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, the Toy Story Trilogy, Cast Away, Road to Perdition, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Charlie’s Wilson’s War, and the list goes on and on. Hanks’ #11-20 films are of a quality that most actors would kill to have them as their top 10 (and I cheated and combined the Toy Stories to get two more films on the list; perks of making the rules). Hanks turned 60 in 2016, hard as that is to believe, but he’s still Hollywood’s leading man.
PS – If you find yourself in a movie and Tom Hanks is the captain of whatever vessel you’re traveling on (Captain Phillips, Sully, Apollo 13)…..buckle up. Things are going to be ok, but you’re in for a bumpy ride. If he’s the captain of your platoon, that is another story altogether.
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