As soon I got home tonight after seeing "Saving Mr. Banks" at the AFI gala at Grauman's theater in Hollywood, I signed in to Gold Derby and changed my Oscar prediction for Best Supporting Actor to Tom Hanks. Previously, I had been swapping Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers' Club") and Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") in and out of the top slot, but now I think I see a real winner.
No, Tom Hanks doesn't set off theatrical fireworks as Walt Disney. He doesn't rage like past champs Christian Bale in "The Fighter" or James Coburn in "Afflication." Instead, he gives one of those warm turns like Jim Broadbent in "Iris" and Michael Caine in "The Cider House Rules." His big money scene comes when he explains what it means to save Mr. Banks. Bingo. A tear-your-heart-out speech delivered in a rosey close-up. Perfect Oscar fare.
Hanks' odds of winning are boosted by the fact that he portrays a real-life person. Voters love that, especially when it's one of their own people like Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator."
Don't make the mistake of thinking that Oscar voters will resist giving Hanks a demotion. That is, they might not want to give him an award in the lowly category of supporting actor after he previously won twice in lead ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump"). Nonsense. They gave Ingrid Bergman the supporting trophy for "Murder on the Orient Express" after previously hailing her as Best Actress in "Anastasia" and "Gaslight."
Hanks won't win any early awards. The film critics will give their supporting-actor laurels to Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") or Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave"). Expect Hanks to emerge later in derby season at the Golden Globes and/or SAG Awards where voters are much more worshipful of Hollywood royalty.
Yes, Hanks will also be nominated for Best Actor in "Captain Phillips" and he can win for that, especially considering his big showy scene near the end. But even though he takes on a twangy Boston accent, he still sounds and looks a lot like Tom Hanks in "Phillips." His performance doesn't seem so actorly as it does in "Saving Mr. Banks" where he fully embodies the role of Disney.
Don't assume he's going to split his votes with two nominations. On 11 occasions in the past, actors had two bids in one year. Seven won. READ MORE
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Read more about entry and rules here. Make your initial Oscar predictions now. Change them later as often as you wish up until Oscar Day. Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.