I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty mad that Tom Hanks didn’t get nominated for an Oscar for either of his acting roles in 2013. It was to the point where I actually contemplated not watching the award show. Although we all know that that wouldn’t have happened. But both roles, very different from each other, were some of the best performances of his career. In Captain Phillips, his depiction of the titular character was phenomenal. The countless unspoken emotions that he portrayed and the ability to convey what his character was thinking without even using his words was remarkable. This film was nominated for Best Picture and his co-star (Barkhad Abdi) was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but no nomination for Tommy–easily the best part of this film. On the other hand, he donned a supporting role with his portrayal of Walt Disney in the film Saving Mr. Banks–a part that he studied thoroughly and knocked out of the park. He had every single detail of Disney down with unflawed results. After each of these respective performances he had fans and critics alike talking about how he would most likely be nominated for one or both of these performances (a feat that has only happened 3 times since the inception of the Best Supporting Actor category for the 9th Academy Awards in 1937. And it is usually due to weak acting years).
Before I go any further, let me explain to you how actors get nominated for an Academy Award. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) consists of roughly 6,000 voting members, and each member votes in their respective category. So basically, actors nominate actors, as it should be. But do you really think that actors would feel comfortable writing in the same name for 2 spots when there are only 10 spots in total? Like I said earlier, it is somewhat frowned upon to nominate an actor twice within one year. Hanks was towards the top the Best Actor category and very much part of the conversation in the Best Supporting Actor category in most critics’ projections and failed to garner a nomination for either.
So as I watched the awards ceremony on TV the other night it occurred to me that Tom Hanks probably DID get a lot of nominations. It’s just that, because no one wants to nominate an actor for 2 categories in the same year, his nominations got split–therefore resulting in less nominations for each category and thusly not getting any sort of recognition.
Sure, some could say that there was no room for him in the lineup for either category, but I’m telling you that he could have easily replaced Bruce Dern for Best Actor, and one of several nominees for Best Supporting Actor.
I’m not saying that they should change the nomination process or anything like that, I just think that there should be less political analysis when sending in the nominations. They voters are suckers for older actors who have never won before, or newcomers who no one has even heard of before–and usually these choices will win them over instead of an actor, like Hanks, who has won a couple of times already. Out of the 10 acting nominees for males, only 1 of them had ever won an Oscar before (Christian Bale). If an actor does an outstanding job in 2 different films, why would we deny him the right to be nominated twice just because it “doesn’t feel right”? Maybe we should go back to the ’20s where the Best Actor award was judged based on how well the actor did in ALL of his films that year collectively…just kidding.