A week after the election, with many New Yorkers still feeling uneasy about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, a number of entertainment industry luminaries gathered at the Museum of Modern Art to honor Tom Hanks with the organization’s ninth annual Film Benefit, presented by Chanel.
The election results, a surprising outcome for many who opposed Trump, led MoMA’s chief film curator Rajendra Roy to scrap many of his planned jokes, he said, and just proclaim, “Thank God for Tom Hanks.”
He continued: “For over 100 years, when our country’s faced times of turmoil or uncertainty, we’ve looked to cinema and its heroes for comfort, inspiration and reassurance. Charlie Chaplin gave us his comedic genius and permission to laugh. Barbara Stanwyck gave us her determined strength. … [Tom Hanks] is the cinematic hero we need now.”
When Hanks himself finally took the stage — after a compilation of clips from many of his films and accolades from Emma Watson, Aaron Eckhart, Steve Martin and (via video) Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood — he echoed these thoughts about the role of film in helping people cope with difficulty.