How Many Academy Award Nominations SHOULD Tom Hanks Have?

“I have more Academy Award nominations than Tom Hanks? That…that can’t be right.”

~Bradley Cooper

oscar

As a nation, Americans don’t agree on much. We know that pizza is good, traffic jams are bad, and Jack Black is either the greatest gift we could ever ask for or a complete scourge from hell and there is no middle ground there. Seriously, it’s impossible to have a neutral opinion on Jack Black. 

But one immutable fact that all Americans can share is simple—Tom Hanks is America’s dad, and we love him fiercely. 

When Hanks first appeared on the small screen as *check notes* a young ad man who had to dress as a woman to live in an affordable girls-only apartment (lol, wait, really?) you might be forgiven for not immediately assuming that the then-24-year-old would go on to become a full-stop national icon and one of the greatest actors of all time, but here we are. 

Ever since his big screen breakthrough in 1984’s Splash, however, Hanks has gone on to become the fourth-highest-grossing actor of all time, and one of the more critically praised as well. Along with Spencer Tracy, Tom Hanks is one of two actors ever to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in consecutive years. 

But despite appearing in numerous Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated films in the past several decades, Hanks randomly went 19 years between Oscar nominations, until his work in 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was nominated. 

That got us thinking. Tom Hanks, arguably the greatest actor of his generation, has been nominated for a total of six Academy Awards in his career. That’s a lot, but given Hanks’ stature, you’d assume he’d have more, right? Hell, Bradley Cooper has eight nominations (though some of those are for producing, and he got a screenplay nod for A Star is Born).

So join us in a journey through Tom Hanks’ storied career as we determine—

How Many Total Oscar Nominations Should Tom Hanks Really Have

hanks saving private ryan

As is the case with every article about the Academy Awards, we have to point out—we know that the Oscars are fallible and really aren’t that good of an indicator of the worth of any given performance. They’re wrong way more often than they are right (and we’ve spilled a lot of ink on that subject). 

We understand that, more often than not, the winners are often chosen because A) they’re “due” B) they’ve been around forever or C) they’re young and up-and-coming and the youths love them some Anne Hathaway, right fellow teens? 

But generally, if you’re nominated for an Oscar, that’s a better indicator of your performance in the context of the year than if you actually win. And while a lot of performances that should be nominated end up getting snubbed (hence the purpose of this article) it’s at least a little more forgiving than going into this article trying to see how many Oscars Tom Hanks should have won. (Though for the record, he was robbed for Saving Private Ryan).  

So with that laid out, let’s go into our list. We’ll be listing every Tom Hanks movie that we deem to have Oscar potential (either due to an iconic performance, critical acclaim, or the film itself getting nominated for major awards of its own). We’ll list the other actors nominated that year, and determine if Hanks earned the right to take one of their nominations away. And finally, we’ll be keeping tally of his historic and fictional Oscars up to that point. 

Let’s get started!

1984: Splash

splash_1280

Hanks’ breakout role was in this charming Ron Howard-directed mermaid romantic comedy. It currently has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Hanks plays Allen Bauer, a man reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy and who falls in love with her, not realizing she’s a mermaid. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

F. Murray Abraham (winner for Amadeus), Albert Finney (Under the Volcano), Jeff Bridges (Starman), Sam Waterston (The Killing Fields), Tom Hulce (Amadeus) 

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

He was boyish and charming, and the film got award consideration, but no. Even though we think comedies should be nominated more often for major awards, this is one that wouldn’t be out of left field, but we’re comfortable keeping Hanks nomination-less here. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

Zero nominations

1988: Big

big tom hanks

After Splash, Hanks was in seven films before his first Oscar nomination. Most of these films, like Bachelor Party, The Money Pit, and Dragnet were light comedies that were very clearly made in the 1980’s. When you say, “1980’s buddy cop comedy starring Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd that by the way led to them making a rap together” you…can understand the kind of movies Hanks was doing at the time. 

Then came Big, which despite its billing as a comedy scored Hanks his first Oscar nomination (along with a nomination for Best Screenplay). Hanks also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy (while Hanks has six Oscar nominations, he also has ten Golden Globe nods). 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Josh, the teenage boy who makes a wish to be “big” and wakes up the next day to find himself in the body of an adult. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Dustin Hoffman (winner for Rain Man), Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver), Gene Hackman (Mississippi Burning), Max von Sydow (Pelle the Conqueror), Tom Hanks (Big)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Yes, and he got one. Hanks’ ability to embody the excitement and innocence of youth was a truly commanding performance which elevated a nice comedy to an Academy Award-worthy film. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

1 Historic, 1 Total

1992: A League of Their Own

Tom Hanks in League of Their Own

With an Oscar nomination to his name, Hanks spent the next few years in a series of moderately successful films, the most popular of which were Turner & Hooch and Joe Versus the Volcano. Then in 1992, Hanks appeared prominently in A League of Their Own, his second film to gross over $100 million in the box office (Big was his first).

While Hanks only had one award nomination for his part in the film (a win from the American Comedy Awards), League was nominated for two Golden Globes—Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical (for Geena Davis) and Best original Song. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Jimmy Dugan, the heavy drinking former Cubs slugger best known for his iconic, “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting

Actors Nominated That Year

Gene Hackman (winner for Unforgiven), Al Pacino (Glengarry Glen Ross), David Paymer (Mr. Saturday Night), Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men), Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

It’s definitely more memorable of a role than most of the other nominees, but we don’t want to rob David Paymer or Jaye Davidson of their only nominations, and Nicholson, Hackman, and Pacino were deserving in their own rights. We suspect Hanks himself doesn’t feel like he got snubbed here, so we’ll hesitantly say no.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

1 Historic, 1 Total

1993: Sleepless in Seattle

hanks sleepless in sezTtle

Tom Hanks absolutely controlled the narrative in the mid-90’s, including this classic Nora Ephron romantic comedy that paired hanks with an in-hear-peak Meg Ryan. Tom Hanks got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (one of two Golden Globe nominations he received this year), and the film was nominated for Oscars for Screenplay and Best Original Song. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Sam Baldwin, a recent widower with a cute kid.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Tom Hanks (winner for Philadelphia), Anthony Hopkins (The Remains of the Day), Daniel Day-Lewis (In the Name of the Father), Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It), Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No. He already won for the next movie you’ll see in this article, and this is an insanely stacked year for actors. Hell, Liam Neeson was the lead in the sixth highest rated movie of all time (per IMDB) and it doesn’t even feel like he got fully robbed by not winning this year. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

1 Historic, 1 Total

1993: Philadelphia 

Tom-Hanks

Tom Hanks won his first Academy Award for his heart-wrenching portrayal of an HIV-afflicted attorney in Philadelphia, a movie that definitely did the Oscars thing of jumping on a current hot topic social issue and trying to make you cry a bunch.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Andrew Beckett, the HIV (and later AIDS) afflicted corporate attorney taking his former law firm to court for firing him due to his sexuality and diagnosis. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Tom Hanks (winner for Philadelphia), Anthony Hopkins (The Remains of the Day), Daniel Day-Lewis (In the Name of the Father), Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It), Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Oh yeah. You can argue about it being a “political” win, either due to his status as a top actor who has previously been nominated, or due to the subject material, but his performance was at the very least worthy of a nomination.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

2 Historic, 2 Total

1994: Forrest Gump

forrest-gump

The next film Hanks put out after Philadelphia was Forrest Gump, which landed Hanks yet another Oscar. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning six, including Best Director for Robert Zemeckis and Best Picture. This is a movie that’s aged into being viewed as kind of “cheesy” and one that the Academy got wrong (it came out the same year as both The Shawshank Redemption AND Pulp Fiction)

But it was a hugely important movie at the time, and Hanks’ endearing portrayal of a “slow-witted but kind-hearted” Alabama man who finds himself a part of numerous important events in American history is iconic, and the movie itself is, if nothing else, an all-time great Dad Movie

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Guess.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Tom Hanks (winner for Forrest Gump), John Travolta (Pulp Fiction), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption), Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George), Paul Newman (Nobody’s Fool)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Absolutely. It started the unfortunate I Am Sam school of trying to force an Oscar nomination through playing a certain type of character, but Hanks is great in this, and it’s a role that he’ll always be associated with.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

3 Historic, 3 Total

1995: Apollo 13

apollo 13

Hanks immediately followed up Forrest Gump with Apollo 13, the based-on-actual-events story of the doomed Apollo 13 flight. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ed Harris) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kathleen Quinlan).

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Jim Lovell, the commander of the Apollo 13 mission.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Nicolas Cage (winner for Leaving Las Vegas), Anthony Hopkins (Nixon), Massimo Troisi (Il Postino), Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland’s Opus), Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Even though he didn’t get nominated for a Golden Globe, we’re going to say yes here actually. He was the main character in a Best Picture nominee. He was great in this. And be honest, do you remember any line from any of this year’s nominees better than you remember, “Houston, we have a problem”?

Nomination Taken From

We’re not taking it from Massimo Troisi, both because foreign language Best Actor nominees are rare, and his was posthumous, so it’s a close pick between Richard Dreyfus, who was in a late-run “inspirational teacher” movie, or Sean Penn, who was in a “humanizing the criminal” drama that, let’s be honest, you don’t remember. 

We’re taking it from Sean Penn, just because of his history and the fact that he’s kind of a dick.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

3 Historic, 4 Total

1995: Toy Story

toy story woody

Man, Hanks was doing everything in the mid-90s. We all know plenty about Toy Story, the first computer-animated film that was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Screenplay, Best Music and Best Score. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Woody the toy sheriff, and Andy’s favorite toy.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Nicolas Cage (winner for Leaving Las Vegas), Anthony Hopkins (Nixon), Massimo Troisi (Il Postino), Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland’s Opus), Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No. No voice actor has ever been nominated for an acting award, and as iconic as Hanks is as Woody, this isn’t the role breaking that glass ceiling. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

3 Historic, 4 Total

1996: That Thing You Do

tom hanks that thing you do

In 1996, Hanks decided to try his hand at writing and directing. The end result was That Thing You Do, which we have established is fucking delightful. It tells the story of a one-hit wonder band in the 1960s, and it’s great. Tom Hanks has only directed two movies (this and the far more underwhelming Larry Crowne from 2011) but considering the fun and polish of his first effort, it’s almost a shame he hasn’t directed more.

The movie was well-received, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Original Song.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Mr. White, the slick band manager that takes the Wonders to mini-stardom.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting

Actors Nominated That Year

Cuba Gooding Jr. (winner for Jerry Maguire), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Shine), Edward Norton (Primal Fear), James Woods (Ghosts of Mississippi), William H. Macy (Fargo)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

As much as we are DYING to take away James Woods’ nomination, this movie was never an “Oscar” movie, and Hanks basically showed up every few scenes to be Tom Hanks Acting Very Professional In A Nice Suit. So, no, even though we really want to give him one. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

3 Historic, 4 Total

Saving Private Ryan

tom hanks private ryan

Saving Private Ryan is the classic Steven Spielberg World War II film most notable for portraying the horrors of war with a raw realism that, previously, you just didn’t see on the big screen. Anchoring the ensemble cast tasked with saving Matt Damon (dude always needs saving) was Tom Hanks with a soulful, battle-hardened performance.

The film was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning five, including Best Director, but famously losing Best Picture to, sigh, Shakespeare in Love.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Captain Miller, the leader of the team sent to save Private Ryan, a soldier trapped behind enemy lines after the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. He got nominated for this, but honestly, he should have won, and it shouldn’t have been close. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Roberto Benigni (winner for Life is Beautiful), Edward Norton (American History X), Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters), Nick Nolte (Affliction), Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

He got nominated for this, but honestly, he should have won, and it shouldn’t have been close. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

4 Historic, 5 Total

1999: The Green Mile

tom hanks green mile

After Saving Private Ryan, Hanks teamed up with Meg Ryan again for You’ve Got Mail, and then reprieved the role of Woody in Toy Story 2. But we’ll jump to Hanks role in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Green Mile, a heartbreaking story about a man with incredible healing powers wrongfully on death row for crimes he didn’t commit. 

It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Clarke Duncan). 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Paul Edgecomb, the compassionate supervising correctional officer at Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s death row. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Kevin Spacey (winner for American Beauty), Denzel Washington (The Hurricane), Richard Farnsworth (The Straight Story), Russell Crowe (The Insider) and Sean Penn (Sweet and Lowdown)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

We were ready to say no, but given the weakness of the nominees this year, we actually are going to say yes. While we mostly think that Matt Damon was robbed of a nomination this year (he did Talented Mr. Ripley that year) we think between Richard Farnsworth in a movie very few of us remember, and Sean Penn playing a jazz guitarist in the 30s in one of the more forgettable Oscar-nominated Woody Allen movie, there’s room for both Damon and Hanks here.

Nomination Taken From

Fuck it, Sean Penn again.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

4 Historic, 6 Total

2000: Cast Away

tom hanks cast away

Cast Away was only nominated for Best Actor and for Best Sound, but it was a movie that was a tour de force for Hanks. If you wanted to make an argument that this was his best performance, you would find takers. 90% of the movie involves Hanks, alone on a deserted island, trying to survive, and then escape. It’s literally him talking to a volleyball for an hour and a half, and he’s so good in it you don’t mind. 

The only reason he didn’t win was because Russell Crowe was “due” after being nominated for The Insider the previous year and losing out to, eep, Kevin Spacey. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Chuck Noland, said cast away.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading, obviously.

Actors Nominated That Year

Russell Crowe (winner for Gladiator), Ed Harris (Pollock), Geoffrey Rush (Quills), Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls), Tom Hanks (Cast Away)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Oh 100%. He made us cry by apologizing to a volleyball.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 7 Total

2002: Road to Perdition

tom-hanks-je-v-uzasnej-gangsterke-road-to-perdition-najomnym-vrahom-ktory-sa-vydava-na-cestu-pomstyed02d58ec39657df6ddc

One thing you might notice is that outside of the 1980s, Hanks doesn’t have a lot of duds on his resume. So far, from 1990 to 2002, the only movie he’s been in that we felt was inconsequential enough not to even mention was The Bonfire of the Vanities. Every other film either is on this list, or gets a mention because it was a relatively big hit. 

After Cast Away, Hanks spent time putting together Band of Brothers, which is a classic World War II miniseries, and then “shocked” audiences by playing an Irish mob hitman in 1930s Chicago protecting his son and looking for vengeance after the murder of the rest of his family.

This was a huge deal at the time! It literally marked the first time he played any sort of anti-hero role, though he still is ultimately the hero of the story. Sam Mendes directed the film, his first film since winning the Academy Award for American Beauty, and it won an Oscar for Best Cinematography to go with six nominations.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Adrien Brody (winner for The Pianist), Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York), Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt), Michael Caine (The Quiet American), Nicolas Cage (Adaptation.)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Most years, the answer would be “absolutely.” Rewatching his performance, it’s some incredible work, and plays off his type more than most roles he’s taken in the past twenty years. 

Unfortunately, this year was stacked on the actor front. You can’t convince us to take away a nomination from Nicholson or Caine here, so we’ll begrudgingly say he was not snubbed by his lack of nomination this year. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 7 Total

2002: Catch Me If You Can

Catch-me-if-you-can-2-The-warning-signs.com_

2002 was another killer year for Hanks, as both of his films released that year saw nominations, including Steven Spielberg’s light crime dramedy, Catch Me If You Can, based on the real-life story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a skilled forger and con man.  

It was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Christopher Walken.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

F.B.I. Agent Carl Hanratty, the man chasing after Abagnale Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) throughout the film. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting

Actors Nominated That Year

Chris Cooper (winner for Adaptation.), Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can), Ed Harris (The Hours), John C. Reilly (Chicago), Paul Newman (Road to Perdition).

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No. He was good in it, but all the nominated actors deserved their nominations. Especially John C. Reilly. We’ll never get tired of the fact that he’s an Oscar-nominated actor.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 7 Total

2007: Charlie Wilson’s War

tom hanks charlie wilson

After an impressive winning streak, Hanks spent the following five years without really being in anything that warrants any Oscar consideration. He had a dud (The Ladykillers) a critically derided blockbuster (The Da Vinci Code) and a movies you probably never heard of (Elvis Has Left the Building). Oh and he did The Polar Express.

Charlie Wilson’s War, a comedic drama based on a Texas congressman’s covert dealings in Afghanistan during the Cold War, was somewhat of a return to form, earning an Academy Award nomination for Phillip Seymour Hoffman along with five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Hanks.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Charlie Wilson, the titular Texas congressman.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Daniel Day-Lewis (winner for There Will Be Blood), George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

It’s close. We could see taking it away from Johnny Depp here, but it’s also not like this was exactly an iconic Hanks performance. It’s a return to form, but we’ll keep him nomination-less in this one. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historical, 7 Total

2011: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

extremely-loud

The next four years were similar to the previous five, though he only did three movies in the interim—Angels & DemonsToy Story 3, and something called The Great Buck Howard. He seemed to be spending a lot of his time doing gags for David Letterman and the Daily Show. We’re not mad about it.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close received mixed reviews, but it was a post-9/11 trauma story based on a best-selling novel, and it was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Picture. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Thomas Schell, the father of the main character, who is a victim of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting

Actors Nominated That Year

Christopher Plummer (winner for Beginners), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Nick Nolte (Warrior)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No. It’s not like he was bad or anything but he’s basically a cameo in this. Also let’s take a moment to enjoy the fact that Jonah Hill has two Oscar nominations.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 7 Total

2013: Captain  Phillips

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Hanks was in Cloud Atlas between this and Extremely Loud, but here we begin the phase of Hanks’ career where he almost exclusively either reprieves a previous character, or plays a real life person/hero. In this case, it’s the story of a 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of a U.S. flagged cargo ship, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years. 

You know, the movie with the meme? It was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, and Hanks was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Captain Richard Phillips. 

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Matthew McConaughey (winner for Dallas Buyers Club), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Christian Bale (American Hustle), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Yes. Just look at this scene. This was easily Hanks’ best performance in over a decade. 

Nomination Taken From

That’s a tough question. We almost want to be trolls and take it from the winner, Matthew McConaughey, but it’s a tough choice between Bruce Dern, who had a legitimately wonderful understated performance in the low-budget small-town black-and-white film Nebraska and Christian Bale, who was fun in American Hustle but when we look back on it, American Hustle was when we were in the peak throes of “The Academy is REALLY into David O. Russell for some reason” mania.

We’ll hesitantly take it away from Bale, just because he has more nominations to his name than Dern (who has two, to Bale’s four nominations and a win). But we have to give Hanks his due here.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 8 Total

2013: Saving Mr. Banks

tom hanks mr banks

In the same year that Hanks returned to form in Captain Phillips he also was in the Disney/Mary Poppins movie Saving Mr. Banks. We’re not saying he was cast because his name rhymes with Banks, but we can say that had to be a common, if annoying, joke on set. 

Anyway, it’s about the making of Mary Poppins. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best Original Score, and Emma Thompson got a Golden Globe nomination for it. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Walt Disney. Do we need to go further?

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading (though you can make an argument for Supporting)

Actors Nominated That Year

Matthew McConaughey (winner for Dallas Buyers Club), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Christian Bale (American Hustle), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No. This was already such a stacked year, and this movie really didn’t make any waves as far as awards go.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 8 Total

2015: Bridge of Spies

bridge of spies

Hanks followed up his back-to-back-Oscar-nominated-films efforts in 2013 with a Toy Story TV movie and a Carly Rae Jepsen music video (thanks we love him) before diving into Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies, which won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Rylance) with nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay (hey! This was written by the Coen Brothers!)

Character Portrayed by Hanks

James B. Donovan, a lawyer entrusted with negotiating the release of a U.S. U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Supporting or Leading Role?

You could argue leading, but they almost assuredly pushed him towards best supporting.

Actors Nominated That Year

Mark Rylance (winner for Bridge of Spies), Christian Bale (The Big Short), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

No, this movie was Rylance’s and Rylance’s alone. Hanks was capable in it, but wasn’t given too much heavy lifting to do.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 8 Total

2016: Sully

sully tom hanks

Hanks was busy around this time, working on A Hologram for the King and Ithaca, which if you remember, then cool, you are more obsessed with obscure movies than even us. Then the following year, he dipped back into that “recent history historic figures” game by playing Sully, the Hudson plane guy.

It earned an Oscar nomination for Sound Editing, but that’s about it.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Casey Affleck (winner for Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Denzel Washington (Fences), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Not really. He was fine in this movie, but this was not exactly Captain Phillips.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 8 Total

2017: The Post

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After Sully, Hanks was in Inferno (lol did you forget that he actually did three Robert Langdon movies?) The Circle (we don’t care enough to look up what that’s about) and The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special (because the man is a treasure). Then came a juicy Spielberg joint—The Post.

Hanks is a team player, especially when it comes to Steven Spielberg movies. After working with the acclaimed director in Saving Private Ryan, he gamely let Mark Rylance get shit done in Bridge of Spies, and finally showed up in Spielberg’s The Post to let Meryl Streep do her thing. His role here helps drive the story, but it doesn’t provide a lot of meat to really get those Oscar-baiting scene-stealing moments, and he seems fine with it!

Anyway, this tells the story of the publication of the Pentagon Paper, which blah blah, classified documents, blah blah showdown between the government and the press. It was nominated for Best Picture of the Year, and Best Actress (for Streep).

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Ben Bradlee, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Post.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting

Actors Nominated That Year

Sam Rockwell (winner for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

There are some possible spots he could have taken (Plummer, for example, got a nomination for literally a few days of reshoots after Kevin Spacey got deleted from its existence) but Hanks was just a role player here. He didn’t really have anything nomination-worthy to work with.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

5 Historic, 8 Total

2019: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood

Hanks did one movie between The Post and his Fred Rogers performance, and that was Toy Story 4. Not bad. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood basically said, let’s take America’s dad, and have him play America’s previous dad. It makes so much sense it hurts, though frankly it’s more about the friendship between Rogers and the journalist Lloyd Vogel than it is about Rogers himself.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Fred Rogers. If you ask us “who’s that” you can go to hell and let Google dunk on you.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Supporting (fun fact, this is the only Oscar nomination for Hanks in a supporting role).

Actors Nominated That Year

Brad Pitt (winner for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

100% yes. We’re fine with him not winning, as it was a stacked field this year, and he was rightfully included in that field. Hanks clearly put the work in to emulate Rogers without coming off like a cartoonish caricature. 

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

6 Historic, 9 Total

2020: Greyhound

tom hanks greyhound

It’s that Dad Movie you might have seen if you have Apple+, but we should take a moment to consider that Tom Hanks had a surprisingly big year in 2020. The day it was announced he had COVID was the day that a lot of places started shutting things down (if Tom Hanks can get it, who can’t it get!?). 

Then he still managed to release two films that got Oscar nominations. Granted, he filmed these before 2020, but still. Tom Hanks was very front and center for many of us last year. 

Anyway, Tom Hanks wrote the screenplay of Greyhound, based on the novel “The Good Shepherd” which told the story of Navy commander leading an Allied convoy to Europe being stalked by a group of German submarines. It’s an enjoyable movie, especially if you’re a dad, and it got an Oscar nomination for Best Sound.

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Captain Krause, a (fictional) officer getting his first command after a relatively long, but uneventful career. He’s “inexperienced” but a longtime Navy man.

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Anthony Hopkins (winner for The Father), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Gary Oldman (Mank), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

Naw. Hanks was good in it, but we can’t even start to think of a performer we’d want to replace him with here. And honestly, this isn’t even his best performance of 2020.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

6 Historic, 9 Total

2020: News of the World

news of the world tom hanks

Tom Hanks reunited with the Paul Greengrass, director of Captain Phillips, for News of the World, a Western where Hanks plays a former Confederate soldier who goes to towns in Texas to read the week’s news for the entertainment of the townsfolk. 

He encounters a young German girl, who had previously been raised by a Native American tribe that was massacred by Union soldiers, and endeavors to take her to her only living family in the country. 

Our staff just saw this last week, and we have to say–it’s good! It’s honestly a really strong, nuanced, and vulnerable performance by Hanks. It was nominated for mostly technical Academy Awards (the highest profile of which was their Best Cinematography nod) though Hanks did get a few Best Actor nominations from various award shows like, and we are not making this up, the AARP Movies for Grownups Award for Best Actor. 

Character Portrayed by Hanks

Captain Kidd, which, we’re just realizing, means that both characters he has played this year have been Captains (if you exclude him portraying himself in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm).

Supporting or Leading Role?

Leading

Actors Nominated That Year

Anthony Hopkins (winner for The Father), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Gary Oldman (Mank), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari)

Should Hanks Have a Nomination?

This one is honestly close. If we had to swap him out for anyone that was nominated, it would be Gary Oldman, but Oldman had a more show-y performance than Hanks, who didn’t get a lot of award steam even though his portrayal was incredibly thoughtful. But no, we won’t take away a nomination from anyone here.

Oscar Nominations Up Till Now (Historic/Total-Including-Fictional) 

6 Historic, 9 Total

Final Results

252969356_480d11bc70_b

Tom Hanks has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years, and in that time he has contributed to our cultural zeitgeist more than just about any actor.

You might be wondering, “What the hell did I just read? What purpose did this serve.” As to what you just read, it was about 6,000 words where we went over the 24 movies featuring Tom Hanks that had Academy Award clout attached to them, wondering how many Oscar nominations should Tom Hanks really have. In doing so, we decided that all of his six nominations were legit, but there were three other nominations we felt were missing. 

As to your second question? What purpose did this serve? Absolutely none. We can’t change the past. We can’t get Tom Hanks nominations from the past. But, at the end of the day, we looked at a world where Tom Hanks has six Oscar nominations to his name, and imagined a world where he actually has nine. And doesn’t nine Tom Hanks Academy Award nominations feel more…accurate? Right? Safe?

Also, we got to spend a lot of time thinking about Tom Hanks movies. And really, isn’t that a gift in its own right? 

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