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The film starred Tom Hanks in the title role of Forrest, a warm-hearted man with a low IQ, who ends up at the center of key cultural and historical events of the second half of the 20th century.
Forrest Gump was based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom, who (like his main character) grew up in Alabama and served in the Army during Vietnam.
In the film, which included now-famous lines like “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get”Forrest is a star runner and ping-pong prodigy who inadvertently rubs shoulders with key figures in a host of iconic events, from Elvis to the civil rights movement and Watergate to the rise of Apple computers. .
He pursues and eventually marries his childhood friend Jenny, played by Robin Wright, who strayed from Forrest’s conservative path and became a hippie in the 1960s.
Some commentators argued that Jenny’s eventual disappearance was a statement about the counterculture movement in America.
Forrest Gump received 13 Academy Award nominations and took home six Oscarsincluding Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hanks), and Best Director (Robert Zemeckis).
The film also won an Oscar for its then-cutting-edge computer-generated imagery (CGI) special effects, which incorporated Forrest Gump into existing news footage featuring famous world figures such as John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, and Richard Nixon.
The win was Hanks’ second in the Best Actor category. A year earlier, the actor had won an Oscar for his leading role as a lawyer with AIDS in Philadelphia (1993).
With Forrest Gump, Hanks became the second actor, after Spencer Tracy, to win back-to-back Oscars.