Having been dubbed “America’s dad,” Tom Hanks, with his long career of playing America’s heroes and misfits, will finally be recognized with a Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2020 Golden Globes.
For this actor, director, writer, and producer who has starred in some of the biggest commercial and critical successes of the past three decades, it’s a small token of appreciation from the industry he has helped sustain. Having won two Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards for his acting and been involved in multiple Emmy Award-winning shows, Hanks is no stranger to acclaim.
For the characteristically modest and hardworking actor, though, whether his performances or movies are nominated or not, it doesn’t change who he is. As Hanks has said, “The only way you can truly control how you are seen is being honest all the time.”
Happy Birthday Tom Hanks! Treat yourself to a Dr. Pepper.
In the 1988 film “Big,” Tom Hanks captured the hearts of audiences and the pens of critics for his performance as a 12-year-old boy whose wish was to be an adult. From then on, his career soared from strength to strength, drawing praise for his work in sitcoms with Meg Ryan, “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), as well as his dramatic roles in “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Apollo 13” (1995), and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).
Hanks currently stands as one of the highest-grossing actors of all time, with his films having brought in nearly $10 billion, according Box Office Mojo. For many of children of the past few decades, his voice as Sheriff Woody in the “Toy Story” franchise (1995–2019) is perhaps almost as well known as his image.
Having finished “Toy Story 4,” Hanks has reflected on the choices he has made over the years to portray positive, identifiable characters in films that have a dedication to quality and a strong moral message. “Every time you make a movie, there is somebody out there who is seeing you for the very first time,” he told USA Today. “Therefore, you better be connected to what is expected of you.”
As an actor and filmmaker, Hanks believes that he is responsible to the audience for the message he chooses to carry. “Everybody who has ever put something on film has a countenance that is carried through forever,” he said. “It’s powerful and it’s another type of connection you have that is very individual to every audience member.”
It’s this profound connection with his audiences, who have been willing to follow his characters on all kinds of movie adventures, past and present, and even into space and on a desert island. Lorenzo Soria, who is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who chose Hanks for the award, noted his ability to make audiences laugh, cry, think, and dream.
“For more than three decades, he’s captivated audiences with rich and playful characters,” Soria said in a press release. “As compelling as he is on the silver screen, he’s equally so behind the camera as a writer, producer, and director.”
Hanks made the transition to working behind the camera and on set, also collaborating with his wife of over 30 years, Rita Wilson, in bringing projects to the screen. He even made his Broadway debut in 2013 starring in Nora Ephron’s play “The Lucky Guy” and took the larger-than-life character of Falstaff in the LA Shakespeare Company’s production of “Henry IV” in 2018.
Despite a long and storied career, Hanks shows no signs of slowing down. In November 2019, his portrayal of children’s TV genius Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” will hit screens nationwide. He hopes to use the film to create more optimistic and positive public conversation in America, just as Mr. Rogers did with his show.
“I think cynicism has become the default position for so much of daily structure and daily intercourse,” Hanks told Vanity Fair. “Why? Because it’s easy, and there’s good money to be made.” As Hanks sees it, Rogers never sold out on his vision to help kids. “He really has some beautiful, radical ideas about childhood … that everybody deserves love just as they are. But also: We need to come up with ways to allow children to feel their feelings.”
When asked by Variety what he thought Mr. Rogers would convey to children growing up today, who have to deal with an increasingly violent world, Hanks thought the legendary host would say “scary things happen and they make you afraid. All of us experiencing being afraid and it doesn’t feel good.” Hanks also believes that Rogers would add, “it’s just part of being who you are and I love you and I’m going to do everything I can to take care of you.”
By receiving the award, Hanks will join a distinguished group of stars and previous recipients such as Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman. The Golden Globes will be held on Jan. 5, 2020.