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Watch: The Final Scene in ‘Captain Phillips’ That Should’ve Earned Tom Hanks An Oscar Nomination

by Charlie Schmidlin
February 28, 2014 9:22 AM
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A great deal in a film can be forgiven if it entirely sticks the ending, and this past year has had no better example of this than “Captain Phillips." Though a capably tense and well-rendered experience for two-thirds of the narrative, Paul Greengrass’ drama still hits another level as it sends its sea-bound hostage tale toward its conclusion — and now we’ve got a spoilery reminder of why Tom Hanks deserved an Oscar nomination in a packed Best Actor lineup (see our full list of Oscar nominee snubs right here).

After a claustrophobic, two hours aboard the hostage situation between a band of Somali pirates led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi) and Maersk Alabama captain Richard Philips (Hanks), the film jolts both the audience and Hanks’ character with the subsequent bloody outcome. Our catharsis finally comes though, as Philips is rescued by Navy SEALS and led into a tiny medical station to receive treatment from two medics.

What occurs next is a masterclass in acting, as tremors of awareness start to creep back into Hanks’ face, and his character crumbles as he realizes the ordeal that he’s just survived. It’s a fantastic, heart-wrenching scene; it also shows a range from Hanks seen only rarely before. And to make the scene more unique, it was apparently a last-minute improv: Hanks, Greengrass, and the crew were originally supposed to shoot a more emotionally tame recovery scene, but they then switched plans and filmed a real-life Navy medic performing the procedure on Hanks.

Meanwhile, in related news, Schmoes Know are claiming that Greengrass is a possible candidate to direct the Lionsgate adaptation of Reza Aslan's "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." The book studies Jesus through an academic lens, placing the religious figure within the context of history instead of religion. Potentially fascinating, but this is a faint rumor for now, so treat it as such.

And until we know more, catch "Captain Phillips" scene below (via Reddit), and if you haven’t already catch Greengrass’ excellent film and lament its absence come Sunday night’s awards.

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  • Doug | July 18, 2014 1:13 AMReply

    THIS is an Academy Award Winning Performance!!!!!

  • Hank Thomas | March 1, 2014 10:28 AMReply

    You posted the final scene? The ending? You gave away the ending. You stupid asshole. Who does that?

  • Mike | March 2, 2014 6:18 PM

    Someone who expects that when you read the article you'll know the video shows something you don't want to see if you haven't watched the movie yet. Someone who expects common sense to be used by the reader. Just a guess.

  • Digital | February 28, 2014 4:08 PMReply

    I couldn't agree more. Just watched it last night and thought the exact thing

  • SAM | February 28, 2014 1:45 PMReply


  • Melissa | February 28, 2014 1:00 PMReply

    Great scene! It made me cry both times I have seen it. Tom Hanks really captured the bewildering swirl of emotions that one must be experiencing in a surreal situation like that. I had a gut feeling that the woman was a real-life Navy medic -- there was just something so authentic about the way she was interacting with and examining him that I think would have been difficult for an actor to mimic and get so real and so perfect.

  • WyattErp | February 28, 2014 12:05 PMReply

    I think Tom Hanks is an excellent actor, but this scene rings so false to me. I don't see a genuine emotional Captain Phillips moment there. I see a Tom Hanks acting scene. I just don't get. Some friends of mine were pushed to tears at the end of the movie, and I felt a little eyeroll coming on. Not trying to be cynical -- I just don't understand all the hubbub.

  • Pam | April 11, 2014 3:43 PM

    I think you may have lost your mind, Wyatterp.l

  • WyattErp | February 28, 2014 6:11 PM

    Listen. Maybe "eyeroll" was too strong of a word. I'm certainly not "too cool for school". Sometimes I'm the biggest sucker for the overly sentimental stuff and will defend it to the end. My point here is that I've heard non-stop talk about Hanks' performance when the bigger overlooked work here is director Greengrass. I never fail to find his movies utterly absorbing. Where's the love for him?! And stop avoiding the elephant in the room...that Boston accent was atrocious!

  • Lauren | February 28, 2014 5:15 PM

    An eyeroll? Really? I'm pretty sure you must have been watching a completely different film. That scene was amazing, Tom Hanks' acting was outstanding.
    You can do better I assume?

  • wyatt twerp | February 28, 2014 12:41 PM

    Must be hard being too cool for school.

  • gerard kennelly | February 28, 2014 9:43 AMReply

    i wonder what was the best scene of 2013 ? ?
    please god please THE ICEMAN
    dano jackman hammer PRISONERS
    julian saves the girl ONLY GOD FORGIVES
    pitt bolito THE COUNSELOR
    sex scene BLUE WARMEST COLOR
    woody drives through town NEBRASKA
    customer appreciation day AT ANY PRICE
    the shootout MUD
    patsy whipped 12 YEARS A SLAVE
    stallone momoa axe BULLET TO THE HEAD
    mcconaughey in the gay bar DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
    the quaaludes WOLF WALL STREET
    dicaprio versus edgerton THE GREAT GATSBY
    the debris GRAVITY
    mads in the supermarket THE HUNT
    deniro arabic AMERICAN HUSTLE
    the climax ALL IS LOST
    phone call from strangers house PLACE BEYOND PINES

  • Melissa | February 28, 2014 1:09 PM

    I enjoyed your list! I especially appreciate your addition of two VERY underrated movies that I absolutely loved, Prisoners and Mud. Prisoners was my favorite film of the year -- the performances in that movie were STELLAR! I thought the best scene in Mud was the rushing-to-the-hospital one. Matthew was amazing in that scene! Thanks again for the list!

  • Refn270 | February 28, 2014 9:37 AMReply

    So many films nominated this year are not best picture worthy. This being one of the chief offenders.

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