tom hanks, saving mr. banks

Disney is making the push this awards season. Saving Mr. Banks had its recent glitzy premiere in the Los Angeles cold recently on the Disney Lot, where much of this celebrated film takes place. Banks is a serious awards contender; it’s gathering steam as a favorite of critics groups, festivals, etc.

The film tells the tale of the cantankerous Mary Poppins, author P.L Travers, and the tortuous road that she, the famed composers Richard and Robert Sherman, and Walt Disney himself went on to bring beloved Mary to the screen. The legendary stars of the film, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, came along to the event with composer Richard Sherman. All the film’s stars braved the chill to attend as well, Emma Thompson, who plays Travers, Tom Hanks, who plays Disney, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti and BJ Novak.

Thomas quipped to a friend after she did the red carpet, “I stupidly thought, oh it’s California, it will be warm. I have bare legs and I can’t feel my feet.” At the party, Hanks seemed most excited to talk to Essential Media’s CEO Chris Hilton about the background of the film.  Essential is the Australian based production company that discovered Travers fascinating story before anyone, and Hilton had the good sense to make a documentary about her, commission the script, and bring it to Disney.  The rest is history. Banks opens nationwide on Dec. 20, and is looking to be a hit for Disney.

Before the screening, the cast, along with Disney execs Alan Horn and Bob Iger (whom Obama begged for a job last week, sang a spontaneous version of the beloved, ‘Lets Go Fly A Kite,’ during a photo opp. Paula Abdul was one of the guests, and when Thomas introduced Andrews and Van Dyke, Abdul got up and shot a picture from her phone.  Even celebs get star struck.

The next night Disney feted its animated Oscar contender, Frozen, also on the lot.  Executives Horn, Iger, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull hosted the soiree. The party also celebrated 90 years of iconic Disney animation.  Famous voices such as Donald Duck, Goofy, Alice in Wonderland, along with their human counterparts made the scene. Frozen’s Josh Gad was the youngest member celebrated and he literally went up to every voice over legend there to express his honor about being included.  Classy move Josh.  So Disney now has a super strong shot of having both a scripted and animated film garner numerous awards during this very crowded awards season.

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