Universal Pictures has set the release date for “News of the World” for December 25, officially launching the post-Civil War drama starring Tom Hanks into the Oscar race. (Watch the trailer.) The film reunites Hanks with his “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass and could become the vehicle that brings the two-time Academy Award winner his seventh acting nomination.
Hanks first broke through at the Oscars for playing Josh Baskin in the 1988 film “Big.” The fantasy comedy was directed by Penny Marshall and proved Hanks could be a major box office draw as well as a critical favorite. After losing his first bid to Dustin Hoffman for “Rainman,” Hanks waited five years to return to the Oscars. His portrayal of Andy Beckett in the legal drama “Philadelphia,” opposite Denzel Washington, earned Hanks his first win for Best Actor. The next year Hanks prevailed once more for his iconic role as the title character in “Forrest Gump.” His back-to-back wins made him just the second actor to achieve such a feat at the Academy Awards, preceded only by Spencer Tracy (“Captains Courageous” and “Boys Town”) in 1937 and 1938.
After starring in blockbuster films “Apollo 13” and “Toy Story,” Hanks returned to the Oscars with his fourth nomination for Best Actor, playing Captain John H. Miller in Steven Spielberg‘s 1998 epic war saga “Saving Private Ryan.” He lost that bid to Roberto Benigni, the breakout star from “Life Is Beautiful.” Two years later Hanks earned his fifth Best Actor nomination for “Castaway,” playing Chuck Noland, a Fed-Ex pilot stranded on a deserted island for four years with his beloved volleyball, Wilson. That year the Oscar went to Russell Crowe for “Gladiator.”
It took nearly two decades for Hanks to snag his sixth nomination, and his first in the Best Supporting Actor Category, for 2019’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” But his portrayal of the beloved Fred Rogers wasn’t enough to stop Brad Pitt from sweeping the awards season for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Throughout the 19 years the Oscars ignored Hanks, 2013 was perhaps the biggest snub. After earning the precursor trifecta of Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG nominations, Hanks was skunked by the academy for his role in “Captain Phillips.” That same year he also failed to sneak into the supporting actor race as Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks.”
As of this writing, Hanks is on the bubble in sixth place for a Best Actor nomination in our overall Oscar odds for 2021. He trails Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”), Delroy Lindo (“Da 5 Bloods”), Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (“One Night in Miami”).
If Hanks were to earn his seventh Oscar nomination he would tie five other male actors who rank 10th among men for the most Oscar nominations ever: Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall and Richard Burton. Jack Nicholson holds the record with 12 nominations, followed by Laurence Olivier (10), Spencer Tracy (9), Paul Newman (9), Al Pacino (9), Marlon Brando (8), Jack Lemmon (8), Denzel Washington (8) and Peter O’Toole (8). So can Hanks bag his seventh nomination for “News of the World”? Or will his latest collaboration with Greengrass lead to another Oscar snub as our early odds indicate?
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