In the early '90s, HIV and AIDS were still touchy subjects for most of mainstream America. Tom Hanks did his part in creating social awareness about the epidemic when he portrayed a gay lawyer, discriminated against by his own law firm, along with Denzel Washington, his legal representation for the lawsuit. Previously known for comedy, the role ended up earning Hanks top acting Honors at the 1994 Academy Awards and changed the direction of his career forever.