Oscar nominations 2014: Is the academy over Tom Hanks?

Tom Hanks poses for a photo on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Tom Hanks is one of the most popular, most decorated actors in Hollywood, and this year he delivered well-regarded performances in two films that were considered Academy Award contenders: “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”

However, when Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning, Hanks was left on the outside looking in, failing to secure nods for either his lead role in the former film or his supporting role in the latter.

Hanks has a reputation as something of an Oscar darling, but his recent snubbing raises a question: Are academy voters over Hanks, or has he just not impressed them recently? His most recent nomination, after all, was 13 years ago, for “Cast Away.”


Throughout the 1990s -- actually, between 1989 and 2001 -- Hanks was a constant presence at the Oscars. He earned his first nomination in 1989 as a kid in a grown-up’s body in “Big,” and went on to win in 1994 for “Philadelphia” and again in 1995 for “Forrest Gump,” becoming one of only a handful of actors to nab back-to-back Oscars. (Jennifer Lawrence has a chance to join him this year.)

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Hanks was nominated in 1999 for his performance as a soldier in the World War II movie “Saving Private Ryan,” and once more in 2001 as a shipwrecked FedEx employee in the aforementioned “Cast Away.”

Post-"Cast Away,” however, Hanks has been in an Oscar dry spell. Six of his films since then have bore the hallmarks of award-season hopefuls, with serious dramatic roles, big-name directors, and fall or winter release dates: “Catch Me if You Can” (2002) “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007), “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (2011), “Cloud Atlas” (2012), and now “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Captain Phillips.”

None of those six films earned Hanks an Academy Award nomination.

One could make the case that those movies simply weren’t up to Oscar snuff, Hanks or no Hanks. “Extremely Loud” and “Cloud Atlas” in particular received mixed reviews and underwhelmed at the box office.

“Captain Phillips,” on the other hand, has been hailed as some of Hanks’ best work, and it still didn’t net him an Oscar nomination. That could have as much or more to do with the high level of competition in the category than academy voters’ feelings about Hanks himself. Either way, the cold streak continues.


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