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Tom Hanks Says Forrest Gump’s Best Picture Oscar Win Over Pulp Fiction Was Justified

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Tom Hanks has been working in Hollywood for over four decades and has been a part of some of the greatest films of all time, but his best-known film is perhaps the 1994 comedy-drama Forrest Gump. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on Winston Groom’s book of the same name, Forrest Gump follows the life of a slow-witted yet kindhearted man who witnesses and unwittingly influences several defining historical events in the 20th century United States. Forrest Gump was released to critical acclaim and grossed nearly $700 million worldwide. The film also swept the Oscars that year, winning six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

As beloved as Forrest Gump is today, many fans and critics believe it wasn’t the best movie of 1994. That title belongs to either Pulp Fiction

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or The Shawshank Redemption. Upon further re-evaluation, as per today’s standards, Forrest Gump’s legacy has been put into question, but Tom Hanks thinks otherwise. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Hanks defended Forrest Gump against naysayers and argued that it was more than just a “boomer nostalgia-fest.”

Related: Here’s Where the Cast of Forrest Gump is Today

Tom Hanks seems to think Forrest Gump’s box office success and overall popularity is why people look past it nowadays. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction was equally well-received by fans and critics alike and even won the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Hanks admits Pulp Fiction is a “masterpiece” but knows why it lost to Forrest Gump: it didn’t resonate with the viewers enough, and that’s not the filmmakers’ fault.

Pulp Fiction’s non-linear narrative, graphic violence, profanity, and drug use were subjects the audience wasn’t accustomed to at the time. Then there’s Tarantino’s avid use of the N-word. Compare that to the countless heartfelt moments of Forrest Gump, and it’s clear which film an average moviegoer or an Academy voter will prefer. Hanks says Lieutenant Dan’s magic legs scene is proof enough why Forrest Gump is still adored all over the world. Lal Singh Chaddha, a Bollywood remake of the film, is also in the works, with Aamir Khan playing the titular role.

But the fact remains that Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump will both be counted among the greatest films of all time, and viewers can have different interpretations of the films. It doesn’t make one better or worse than the other. And if it’s any consolation, three decades have passed since Forrest Gump’s “undeserving” Best Picture win, and the Academy still tends to honor popular and melodramatic crowd-pleasers. Green Book and The Shape of Water are a few recent examples.

Tom Hanks will next appear as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis, due out June 24, 2022. Hanks is also reuniting with the Forrest Gump team for Here. Robert Zemeckis is directing and Eric Roth is writing Here, an adaptation of Richard McGuire’s graphic novel of the same name. Here is described as a sprawling epic told over thousands of years and also stars Robin Wright.

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