Welcome to the 2020 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material. Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profiles.”

FILM: “Greyhound”

DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Releasing
DIRECTOR: Aaron Schneider
PRODUCERS: Gary Goetzman
WRITER(S): Tom Hanks (based on the book “The Good Shepard” by C.S. Forester)
CAST: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue

SYNOPSIS: Early in World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks. (IMDB)

SCHEDULED RELEASE: June 12, 2020

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Not many things are certain nowadays. But if there is one thing that reigns true, it is that audiences love Tom Hanks. It is undeniable that Hanks is one of the most celebrated movie stars of all time, and throughout his career has continued to show nice guys can finish first. The fact that Hanks not only stars in but is the screenwriter for “Greyhound” helps elevate the film even more. The two-time Oscar winner is known mainly for his acting chops, but he has worn the writer’s cap a time or two. Hanks’ writing for “That Thing You Do!” (1996)”Larry Crowne” (2011), and the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998) proves that he has the capacity for greatness with words both written and spoken. “Greyhound” will most assuredly capitalize on Hanks’ talents in both.

“Greyhound” is based on the 1955 C.S. Forester novel “The Good Shepard.” Although not as well known as his Horatio Hornblower series, “Shepard” is a superb work of literature. Forester’s readers can smell the salt air and feel the rocking of the ship when they read his books. His novels transport to another time and place. Having a source material so steeped in realism and heart makes adapting to a film that much easier to envision. On a side note, check out John Huston’s “The African Queen,” which is based on another Forester novel. “The African Queen” proves that Forester’s stories can be transferred from the page to the screen with great success.

Aaron Schneider will direct this World War II film. An Oscar winner in 2003 for his work on the Live Action Short Film “Two Soldiers,” Schneider has yet to become a household name. But he has worked in the industry for over twenty years. Schneider was a unit director on “Titanic” (1997) and the cinematographer for “Kiss the Girls” (1997) and “Simon Birch” (1998). He directed on television for The CW’s “Supernatural” and ABC’s “Murder One.” His first full-length feature was released in 2008, the quirky “Get Low,” starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek. His years in the business have paid off with his hiring for the big-budget “Greyhound.” Maybe this is his moment to capture some real fanfare.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

Stephen Graham in “Greyhound”

Films based on war at sea are not guaranteed successes. Over the years, the industry has seen triumphs emerge in “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) and Germany’s “Das Boat” (1981), while others have fallen flat, including 2016’s “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.” The take away from these successes and failures is that characters and motives can never take a back seat to special effects. The thrills of war range from big explosive moments to quiet moments of contemplation. Hopefully, “Greyhound” can take this idea to heart.

Also, these stories tend to have a small cast and a limited number of set locations. These are not necessarily detrimental, but further stress the importance that audiences need to care about the people on screen. This helps audiences forget not everything has to be on a global scale to instill true emotion.

POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture (Gary Goetzman)
  • Director (Aaron Schneider)
  • Actress in a Leading Role (Tom Hanks)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Tom Hanks)
  • Cinematography (Shelly Johnson)
  • Film Editing (Mark Czyzewski and Sidney Wolinsky)
  • Special Effects (TBD)
  • Sound Design (TBD)
  • Original Score (Blake Neely)

POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS

  • Best Performance by a Leading Male (SAG Awards): Hanks is a two-time SAG winner and an eight-time nominee, but he hasn’t won since 1996. He scored a nomination this year for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Will “Greyhound” help Hanks break his losing streak?

What do you think of the prospects for Aaron Schnieder’s “Greyhound?” Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!