Tom Hanks is the 2009 Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute honoree. The Lincoln Center has been honoring a living movie legend each year since 1972 (link to list). Their timing seems to be back "off" following their choice last year-- Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks should either (a) have already been feted or (b) not done until he has a resurgence. Angels and Demons hardly qualifies.
I don't suggest however that Hanks isn't worthy. I still think he was robbed of a third Oscar for Cast Away (there was just too much of a "he's already got two" mentality to give him the award he deserved to win.) I also think he's been consistantly good even when his vehicles have been unsuccessful.
The first Tom Hanks film I saw theatrically was Dragnet followed, I'm not too happy to report, with the one-two punch of Joe Vs. the Volcano and Bonfire of the Vanities. But his films were all over cable and I'm sure I'd seen Big around this time too, my favorite of his movies. Although all stars fade, the ones that have one, clear big sentimental favorite film seem to last the longest, and Hanks has Forrest Gump to keep him in the annuals of pop culture for many years to come.
Another good choice, Lincoln Center-- just a little off on the timing.