Hollywood Flashback: Tom Hanks Flashed His SAG Card on the Awards Stage in 1995

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The 'Forrest Gump' star won the first Screen Actors Guild Award for lead film actor at the inaugural ceremony, a month before he'd take home his second lead actor Oscar.

In 1995, Tom Hanks' work in Forrest Gump earned him the inaugural Screen Actors Guild Award for lead film actor. He was chosen by the roughly 20,000 members who voted, out of 72,388 who were eligible.

Despite the low voting numbers, for a first-time production, the SAG Awards started strong with a national telecast on NBC (this year it aired on TNT and TBS with Megan Mullally hosting). The Hollywood Reporter said "the guild borrowed a page from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s Golden Globe Awards by creating a party-like atmosphere with guests served food and wine at tables on a Universal Studios soundstage."

THR described the show as going "relatively smoothly" and said "an audience comprised almost entirely of actors seemed genuinely delighted to see fellow thespians at the center of attention."

When Patrick Stewart, who was nominated for actor in a drama series for playing Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, was asked why SAG was so late in joining the awards-season marathon, he quipped: "We are the most modest, most self-effacing guild."

Being a SAG member was somewhat of a theme during the show, with some winners announcing when they joined the guild and Hanks displaying his membership card as he accepted his statuette.

A month later Hanks, then 38, won his second lead actor Oscar, for Forrest Gump.

This story first appeared in a November standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.