Tom Hanks Defends The ‘Problem’ With ‘Forrest Gump’ And Its Best Picture Win Over ‘Pulp Fiction’

It’s not as egregious as Dances with Wolves beating Goodfellas, but Forrest Gump winning Best Picture over Pulp Fiction is one of the more controversial Oscar picks in history. Forrest Gump was, rightly or wrongly, considered the boomer throwback, while Pulp Fiction was something new, something exciting, from a young filmmaker who the rest of Hollywood would soon attempt (mostly unsuccessfully) to copy.

Tom Hanks was asked about the still-active discourse surrounding the titanically popular 1994 films in an interview with the New York Times. “The problem with Forrest Gump is it made a billion dollars. If we’d just made a successful movie, [director Robert Zemeckis] and I would have been geniuses. But because we made a wildly successful movie, we were diabolical geniuses. Is it a bad problem to have? No, but there’s books of the greatest movies of all time, and Forrest Gump doesn’t appear because, oh, it’s this sappy nostalgia fest,” he said.

Hanks is aware that every Oscars season, “there’s an article that goes, ‘The Movie That Should Have Won Best Picture’ and it’s always Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction is a masterpiece without a doubt.” (For what it’s worth, Gump did not make our list of the Best Best Picture winners.) But, the two-time Oscar winner believes, so is Gump.

“Look, I don’t know, but there is a moment of undeniable heartbreaking humanity in Forrest Gump when Gary Sinise — he’s playing Lieutenant Dan — and his Asian wife walk up to our house on the day that Forrest and Jenny get married… Then I look at him, and I say, ‘Lieutenant Dan.’ I might get weepy thinking about it now. Forrest and Lieutenant Dan in those four words — ‘magic legs’; ‘Lieutenant Dan’ — understand all they had been through and feel gratitude for every ounce of pain and tragedy that they survived. That’s some intangible [expletive] right there. That is not just running along to Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser.”

Hanks should have just said, “Forrest Gump has the Oscar — and the chain restaurant.”

Maybe Quentin Tarantino can make Gump and Co. his 10th and final film. Now that would be a “show-stopping climax.”

(Via the New York Times)