There’s only one thing you need to know heading into Fall: Tom Hanks is The Movie Man for This Season.
In 2013, the two-time Oscar winner aimed to score two more nominations, in the Lead Actor category as “Captain Phillips” in the Paul Greengrass-directed thriller, and in the Supporting Actor race as the iconic Walt Disney in the making-of “Mary Poppins” drama “Saving Mr. Banks”. The Academy snubbed both, brilliant performances.
Now Hanks is back with another one-two punch. Like “Phillips” and “Banks”, this new pair of high-profile releases open within a two-month period. On September 9, “Sully” lands in theaters. The true-story drama centers on pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane in 2009. This is director Clint Eastwood’s follow-up to “American Sniper” and also stars Laura Linney as Sully’s wife and, as seen in the trailer and commercials, Katie Couric as herself.
However, even though Hanks is front and center in “Sully”, it’s co-star (and co-pilot) Aaron Eckhart who’s getting the most Awards buzz as the release date approaches. Eckhart is currently on many Best Supporting Actor analyst preliminary ballots. Eckhart also has a second chance at scoring attention in this category with the trainer role in boxing biopic “Bleed for This” (opening in Limited Release Nov. 4). This wouldn’t be the first time a supporting role out-shined Hanks, as just last year, Mark Rylance received the best reviews from Steven Spielberg’s Cold War drama “Bridge of Spies”, earning him an Oscar and a BAFTA, while TH was shut-out of the Awards Season party.
The second Hanks film this Fall isn’t one that’s going to get him nominations (though a Critics Choice Best Actor in an Action Movie nod could be a possibility). On October 28, he returns as Robert Langdon in the third Dan Brown novel-turned-movie, “Inferno”. Ron Howard is back behind the camera for this “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” follow-up. Felicity Jones (also to be seen in “Rogue One” this December) plays Langdon’s companion. The previous two installments, combined, made close to $1.2 billion worldwide, but a seven-and-a-half year gap since “Angels”can’t be good for the box office, especially in “The Year of the Sequels No One Wanted”. And having Sony take the Halloween weekend slot, with “Doctor Strange” and “Trolls” just seven days out, doesn’t bode well, either.
Nonetheless, expect one of the most respected and likable actors in show business to be dominating the talk show circuit and social media from now to Thanksgiving – or, I should say, Hanks-giving.