Tom Hanks received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Josh Baskin in Big.
Big tells the story of a thirteen year old boy who wishes to be big, and turns into Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks portrays a boy in a man's body, which was a strangely popular subject at the time of the film's making although Tom Hanks is the only time a performance like this was nominated for Best Actor. Hanks has the challenge of being a believable man who really is a boy. Hanks actually might overdo the boy in the man's body just slightly in that his portrayal of the boy seemed more immature than when the actually boy was playing the boy. This although really has to do with the writing which seems slightly off in this respect.
Hanks though is believable enough as the boy in the man's body, particularly in some of his physical mannerisms that he exploits, which really do not feel forced, and do correspond well to the way an actual child would act in his situations. Hanks after doing this whole set up though is required to show a transition as well. His character actually grows more mature as the film goes on and begins not only being an adult but starts to act like an adult as well. When this does occur Hanks' performance goes a little more on autopilot.
Hanks' performance becomes more like a charming leading man performance by Hanks which is just fine. Hanks is a little inconsistent at the same time though, as sometimes he does small indications of the boy in the man problem, well other times, he acts just like an adult. What Hanks does do does work though as a romantic comedy lead performance. I will say because of that though many questions are unexplored, such as how deeply this change has really effected Josh.
His whole transition to acting like an adult is fairly fast, and slightly disconcerting because of how immature he acted in some ways during the beginning of his performance. The film never really gets into how this experience has effected him on a really deep level, it tries a little bit but it never is explored to any meaningful extent. Due to all of this Hanks does just need to the kid stuff, which he does pretty well in some circumstances, although not perfectly, and be charming which he is enough I suppose. This is not a great, or a perfect performance, but it is fine enough.