But when Academy Award nominations were read out before dawn Thursday, Hanks' name was never called.
Cold-blooded snub? Probably not. Instead, Hanks' double omission is more proof that 2013 was indeed a golden year for film, one in which there were so many strong (and commercially successful) films that academy members couldn't include all those worthy of recognition.
"There's incredible work being done by incredible filmmakers," said
Oscar voters had little trouble finding several movies to lavish with multiple nominations in top categories. The con man tale
Tellingly, many of these nominated films were financed independently. As major studios focus on superheroes and sequels, it's the independent financiers who bankroll the edgier, director-driven films whose merits are measured by reviews, not Happy Meals tie-ins.
Two of the best picture nominees — "American Hustle" and "Her" — were bankrolled by producer Megan Ellison, daughter of billionaire businessman
"I know we couldn't make this movie without Megan," said
The best picture finalists "The Dallas Buyers Club," the stock swindle film
"The independent financiers are critical," said Rachel Winter, a producer of "The Dallas Buyers Club." "They are bucking the cycle that we are in — and we are in such a crazily specific one right now."
Her movie was underwritten by executives from a Texas fertilizer company after Hollywood studios turned the project down more than 120 times over the last 20 years.
The Academy Award nominations will help encourage others to take similar risks, noted Tracey Seaward, a producer of "Philomena" whose financing was pieced together from three European backers. "It's really a great boost and shows there's an audience for serious storytelling," she said.
Many film critics have called 2013 one of the best years for movies in memory. Happily for Hollywood, several of this year's top contenders also are box-office hits — unlike past years, in which major contenders never escaped the art house.
"Gravity" has grossed more than $256 million in domestic theaters, "American Hustle" has surpassed $104 million, "Captain Phillips" stands at $105 million and "The Wolf of Wall Street" just climbed past $81 million.
In lieu of Hanks and Redford, the lead actor nominees were
Redford, speaking to reporters at the opening his
"There's a lot of campaigning going on and it can be very political," Redford said. "In our case, we suffered from little to no distribution. I don't know what they were afraid of."
Instead of including Thompson, the lead actress selections were American Hustle's"
The directing nominees were
"I think it's probably one of the richest years we've had in film," Squibb said. "And we simply don't have that kind of thing every year."
Times staff writers Amy Kaufman, Steven Zeitchik and Jeffrey Fleishman contributed to this report.