- Golden Globe Awards
1989: The Journey of a “Big” Boy
All of a sudden, at the end of a decade filled with comedies, musicals, and adventure movies, a new actor took Hollywood by storm.
Born in Concord, California, the young man had an early inclination toward acting, which he began exploring when he took on roles in stage productions while still in high school.
His birth name was Thomas Jeffrey Hanks, and, by his own account, he was a terrified kid who, according to a 1988 interview with Rolling Stone, “was a geek, a spaz. I was horribly, painfully, terribly shy. At the same time, I was the guy who’d yell out funny captions during filmstrips.”
It was not by chance that Rolling Stone wanted to have a conversation with Tom Hanks in 1988: after non-stop work in theater (from Shakespeare to Machiavelli), some slasher movies, and a growing presence on TV (a game show, an episode of Happy Days, and of course two seasons of the sitcom Bosom Buddies, where he met his future wife Rita Wilson for the first time), Hanks shifted, very fast, to big business movies.
In 1984, Hanks made his leading man debut with Splash, a love story between a young man and a mermaid (Daryl Hannah). The modestly budgeted film was a huge success, both commercially and critically, and earned a Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe nomination.
Hanks moved fast to more opportunities: Bachelor Party, Nothing in Common, The Money Pit, Dragnet. Some were hits; some, not so much.
Directed by the savvy Penny Marshall, and written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg (Steven Spielberg’s younger sister), Big fit Hanks as if the premise of the movie — a kid who suddenly turns into an adult — was a capsule of his whole life. At 32, Hanks was a full actor, trained on stages and sets. At the same time, held the innocence and mischief of the “horribly, painfully, terribly shy” boy that he once was.
At the 46th Golden Globe Awards, on January 28, 1989, Big received two nominations: Best Actor – Musical or Comedy, and Best Picture – Musical or Comedy. Hanks won, besting a field rounded out by Michael Caine, John Cleese, Robert De Niro, and Bob Hoskins.
Four years after his first Golden Globe, Hanks shared with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association how he felt after Big became a major hit, grossing $151.7 million worldwide: “My opportunities have grown,” he said. “I think I’ve been able to do good work, and have been able to back it up with some sort of box office performance.”
And how his opportunities have grown! From comedy to drama, actor to producer, Hanks has collected eight Golden Globes so far — including a Cecil B. deMille Award — from the 16 nominations he has amassed since that night at the Beverly Hilton in 1989.
Not bad for a terribly shy boy.