Tom Hanks continues to make interesting choices

There’s almost two Tom Hanks on display in movie theaters these days. There’s the one taking the lead in prestige fare like he’s always done. For example, there was Sully just last year, with potentially another big time turn to be found later on in 2017 with Steven Spielberg’s The Post. Over the past few years, however, there’s also a Hanks that will either show up in a supporting role or sign on for more independent work than usual. Last year he did just that with A Hologram for the King (in a lead role), while this week he has a supporting part in The Circle, which hits theaters after initially being planned as a 2016 release. Hanks seems to be playing a villain in the film too, which is something new. When you’re as big a movie star as he is, getting to do something different is very exciting indeed.

I’ll be talking about The Circle in detail once I see it in a few days at the Tribeca Film Festival (oddly, about a day before it hits theaters), but right now it’s a bit of a mystery. So, for the moment I want to focus more on how Hanks has managed to become the rare actor with a pair of Oscars who still manages to seem overdue for another citation by the group. The Academy Awards used to tap Hanks for a nomination almost without second thought, though it’s now been quite a while for him. In fact, he’s been snubbed a few times for seemingly slam dunk roles, like Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, and Sully, to name just three recent ones. Throw in Charlie Wilson’s War and there’s a quartet of roles that voters didn’t nominate him for that could have easily gone the other way. It’s just a fascinating change of pace for them in terms of their relationship with Hanks. Suffice to say, there’s more to be said on that at some point.

Anyway, on to the positive, which is always more fun anyway. Once again, I want to highlight some of Hanks’ best performances so far. What you’ll see below is a whole smorgasbord of top quality Hanks work. Spoiler alert: I’ll reiterate that I think he’s never been better than in his Academy Award winning turn in Philadelphia, though that’s just me. There’s also his win for Forrest Gump to consider, along with other Oscar nominated work like Big, Cast Away, or Saving Private Ryan, all of which show up on my list. As an aside, just know that while I didn’t consider his voice work, I did give it a special citation of its own, which you’ll notice below the main list, before my honorable mention picks. Those are no slouches either, so it’s all a testament to just how good an actor Hanks is. We all knew that already, but still, it never hurts to remind yourself.

Enough talk though. It’s time to show off this list again. Here now are what I think are the ten best performances so far from Hanks, updated from last year:

10. A League of Their Own
9. Sully
8. Captain Phillips
7. Catch Me if You Can
6. Apollo 13
5. Saving Private Ryan
4. Cast Away
3. Forrest Gump
2. Big
1. Philadelphia

Special Citation: Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3

Honorable Mention: Bridge of Spies, Charlie Wilson’s War, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close , The Green Mile, A Hologram for the King, Road to Perdition, Sleepless in Seattle, Splash, The Terminal, and Turner and Hooch

Basically, Hanks is still one of the most reliable actors in the business, showing no signs of slowing down. The Academy hasn’t cited him in a while, but that could change in a heartbeat. Look for The Post to potentially do the trick if it makes a late 2017 release in time for awards season. If that’s the case, we’ll certainly cover it. Obviously, we won’t know for months, but for now, we have The Circle in a few days to discuss. There’s a little bit of Hanks this year for whatever your taste may be. If you ask me, that’s quite a good thing too…

Stay tuned for more on Hanks later on this year and more on The Circle before the week is out!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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