Tom Hanks has overcome almost everything: AIDS, Nazis, Meg Ryan, desert islands, airport terminals and the Catholic Church.
It's enough for three lifetimes. But is it enough for a Lifetime Achievement award?
Hanks, 52, will receive that award tonight from the Film Society of the Lincoln Center in New York City. He has only been acting 25 years. He will likely act at least another 20.
With his acting career possibly only half over, is this award not premature?
I love Tom Hanks. He's this generation's Jimmy Stewart, the All-American boy with enough talent to cover the Lower 48. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three straight years — an unprecedented feat — and won it twice. He's sensational.
But Stewart received this same award from the Lincoln Center when he was 82, 55 years after he began his acting career.
This is indicative of a larger problem: Our "now, now, now" society.
Are there not worthy candidates who actually have lived a lifetime?
Kirk Douglas, 92, was named the 17th greatest actor of all-time by the American Film Institute. He received three Best Actor nominations.
Sidney Poitier, 82, was the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. He single-handedly changed race relations in Hollywood.
Even Marlon Brando, the fourth greatest actor ever according to AFI's list, could be honored posthumously. (He died in 2004).
Do none of these people deserve it? Why don't we honor our elder statesmen?
The award itself isn't that important. Like I said, I love Tom Hanks.
But I do think it's part of two larger trends in America: 1) Everyone wants instant gratification. 2) We easily forget the contributions our older generations made.
I think both of those are major problems. Overcoming them — unlike getting a Lifetime Achievement award —may actually take a lifetime or more to achieve.