NEW YORK — Tom Hanks is a fine actor, a simple fact that the media and Hollywood types who gathered Thursday at the Waldorf-Astoria as the American Museum of the Moving Image acknowledged by awarding the actor with a lifetime achievement award.
But while many onlookers thought that, with a pair of Oscars and AMMI’s crystal urn, Hanks’ acting ability had been duly celebrated, they left the ballroom feeling that he had yet to be honored for another skill he has truly mastered: giving funny, humble and emotional awards acceptance speeches.
On this night, Hanks made a point to honor each of his many friends who presented film clips from the thesp’s 20-year career. The long list included “Bosom Buddies” co-star Peter Scolari, Ron Howard, Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell, Sally Field, Geena Davis, Jonathan Demme, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Nora Ephron and Steven Spielberg, a past recipient of the honor and, along with wife Kate Capshaw, one of the evening’s co-chairs.
(It was so late by the time Hanks had gotten through all of the names of presenters that Heather Graham was forced to rest a sleepy head on beau Ed Burns’ shoulder).
Both Howard’s and Ephron’s presentations elicited some of the biggest laughs from onlookers including helmer Stanley Donnen, SAG prexy Richard Masur and Cliff Robertson.
But it was Hanks, using that charm that Field described as “half Goofy, half Nureyev,” who kept the crowd in a constant giggle.
“The illusion tonight is that all of Manhattan has stopped to look at me and the things I have done,” Hanks said. “It makes me feel like I am a character in a seminal novel. It makes me feel … it makes me feel like Sherman McCoy. Aren’t they going to show any ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ clips tonight?”