Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Could DDL Have Done "Turner & Hooch"?

With all the reverent talk surrounding Daniel Day-Lewis playing the titular character in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln", one has to suspect that DLL will, come January, land his third Oscar for Best Actor. Out of the four nominations he has received, he's won two. One for My Left Foot (1990) and the other for There Will Be Blood (2007). I think everyone would agree that both are magnificent performances and highly regarded. And from the look of it, his performance in Lincoln, which opens this weekend, looks just as wonderful. On Oscar Night, February 24, 2013, will DDL become the only man to have won three, count 'em, three Oscars for Best Actor? He may very well become that man.

If this happens, will it solidify him as the worlds greatest movie actor? This is when you have to do a little soul searching. This is when you realize you may be forgetting to ask yourself one very important question... Could DDL have done Turner & Hooch?


NO!

You know who could have, and DID? Tom Hanks!

In October, TIME Magazine released an issue internationally with a cover holding the face of Daniel Day-Lewis with the bold words "World's Greatest Actor" partially hovering over his right cheek. Sometimes I want to subscribe to this idea of thought. I mean, look at the man's work. He can pull a dramatic performance out of himself just as easy as I can pull lint out of my bellybutton. But therein lies the problem; dramatic performance.

All this guy ever does is dramatic performances. Don't get me wrong, they're all great. DDL's a master at what he does. But he doesn't do comedy. Now when I say Comedy I'm not counting his work in Stars and Bars (1988) or Eversmile, New Jersey (1989). While they are comedies, They're not the sort I’m looking to see DDL in. In Stars and Bars, for instance, he still very much plays the straight-man and this is pretty much the funniest thing he does in the movie.




What I'm talking about is a movie like Turner &Hooch (1989). A sort of ridiculous play on the buddy cop genre, where zany scenarios play out between a cop and his leading witness to a murder, a dog named Hooch. I'm not fully convinced DDL could have pulled that off. To me it seems that DDL is limited in what he's capable of doing on the big screen. He shows very little range in his body of work. He plays good guys, bad guys, and regular guys in dramas. Tom Hanks has done that, with the added bonus of being in many, many comedies as well - with some reaching slapstick status, in turn displaying more range in his acting abilities.

Still not convinced? Let's look at the Oscars they've won. DDL won both of his Best Actor Awards for dramatic films. Tom Hanks on the other hand has won Best Actor for a drama (Philadelphia, 1993) and a drama that relies heavily on comedy, bordering/crossing into the comedy genre itself (Forrest Gump, 1994).

Just for added proof, let's take a look at the other movies they were nominated for where didn't win the prize -

Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor losses:
-In The Name Of The Father (1993) - DRAMA
-Gangs Of New York (2002) - DRAMA

Tom Hanks - Best Actor losses:
-Big (1988) - COMEDY/FANTASY
-Saving Private Ryan (1998) - DRAMA
-Cast Away (2000) - DRAMA


What's that we see? Hanks has a Best Actor nomination for a comedy that also sits in the fantasy realm? Shoot, I can't even remember the last time DDL made a fantasy flick. That's right, he never did (before you argue, "Artemis 81" is a made-for-TV movie ).

Maybe some of you are thinking I'm not giving DDL enough credit, after all he's been in a musical (Nine, 2009) and Tom Hanks hasn't. True, but Tom Hanks did sing in "Joe Versus The Volcano" (1990). You don't count that? Okay, well let me throw this one on you: Tom Hanks has experience in Motion-Capture from his work on The Polar Express, 2004, which he also sang in. Sad to say, but DDL doesn't have Motion-Capture experience. So there ya go, Tom Hanks is a far superior actor than Daniel Day-Lewis based on range alone. Case closed.

In all seriousness though, I realize this is subjective. But go ahead and try to find ways to tell me Daniel Day-Lewis is a better actor than Tom Hanks. Its a fun subject to argue. Plus we could just as easily trade Sean Penn in for Tom Hanks. Even with all the subjectivity involved, I think we are all certain that come February 24th, in the film world, I'll be in the same boat as LeBron James fans who claim him to be greater than Michael Jordan, the man with more rings.

Who do you think is the world's greatest actor?