Why Tom Hanks will ride the ‘Elvis’ wave to an Oscar nomination

To paraphrase one of Elvis Presley‘s most iconic songs, Tom Hanks‘ villainous character in the Warner Bros. movie “Elvis” ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog and he (apparently) ain’t no friend of awards pundits.

Indeed, of the dozens of Experts, Editors and Top 24 Users who have chimed in with their 2023 Oscars predictions at Gold Derby, only two are predicting Hanks will receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination for playing Colonel Tom Parker: myself and Christopher Rosen. We get it, we get it — Hanks’ performance was not universally beloved and some saw it as an over-the-top caricature. But Chris and I both can’t help falling in love with the idea that the beloved movie star could ride the “Elvis” wave all the way to the Academy Awards.

“The movie remains really popular — and they’re screening it a lot for voters,” Chris tells me. “He’d be an easy coattail nominee with Austin Butler — and while that isn’t always foolproof, I think he’s got to have at least as good of a chance to get in as someone like Barry Keoghan for ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ who is way higher in the odds but still a relative newcomer and with a smaller part.”

For the record, the Top 6 contenders in Gold Derby’s current predictions for Best Supporting Actor are, in odds order: Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Ben Whishaw (“Women Talking”), Paul Dano (“The Fabelmans”), Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”) and Keoghan. Hanks is much further down in 12th place.

Much has been made this awards season about how Hanks plays against type in “Elvis,” and that factor can certainly boost his Oscar chances. After all, moviegoers are used to seeing him portraying heroic real-life figures (as in “Apollo 13” and “Captain Phillips”), people who overcome adversity (as in “Cast Away” and “Saving Private Ryan”) or Oscar-winning tour de forces (as in “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”) — not manipulative, mustache-twirling baddies like Colonel Tom Parker. “It could work in his favor because he rarely plays someone so nefarious,” Chris explains.

Hanks is virtually unrecognizable in “Elvis” as he wears a fat suit and dons facial prosthetics. He also speaks in a unique accent that’s so fun to mimic I’m surprised James Austin Johnson hasn’t yet taken it for a spin on “Saturday Night Live.” I probably don’t need to say it out loud, but Academy Awards voters just love a good physical transformation. Recent examples include Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”).

Chris expounds further on his Hanks prediction by declaring, “I also think, again, ‘Elvis’ is a really strong overall play — and the odds of voters just kind of checking it across the board, including for Hanks, has to be greater than them going for someone who might be a lone nominee. The only worry I have is that his performance is super broad — so it could be like a Jared Leto thing where he gets in at SAG and maybe the Globes but then misses at the Oscars. But he’s also beloved like few other stars.”

Hanks is a rare two-time Best Actor Oscar winner for “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994) who’s been nominated four more times for “Big” (lead, 1988), “Saving Private Ryan” (lead, 1998), “Cast Away” (lead, 2000) and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (supporting, 2019). He’s also brought in billions of dollars for Hollywood through the decades in all of the above hits plus films like the “Toy Story” franchise, “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Polar Express,” “Catch Me If You Can” and my personal favorite “The Green Mile.”

Gold Derby’s overall odds predict “Elvis” will receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Butler), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design. More artisan categories will be added soon to our predictions center.

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