1989 – The year I graduated from high school put out some great movies. My favorites of the year were When Harry Met Sally, Indiana Jones, Dead Poets Society, The Little Mermaid, Pet Sematary, Born on the 4th of July, and Lean on Me. Of my favorites, only two were nominated and won an Oscar; Oliver Stone got Best Director for Born on the 4th of July and Dead Poets Society won Best Screenplay. Looking over the list of the winners of the 62nd Academy Awards, I am again in disagreement. I wonder if there will ever be a year when I actually agree with them. I doubt it. They said the Best Picture was Driving Miss Daisy—I disagree. They said the Best Actor was Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot—I disagree. They said the Best Actress was Jessica Tandy of Driving Miss Daisy—I disagree again. Let me tell you how I would have awarded the Oscars, and then I'll explain why.
Best Picture should have been When Harry Met Sally.
Best Director was rightly given to Oliver Stone for Born on the 4th of July.
Best Actor should have been Tom Cruise for his role as Ron Kovic or Morgan Freeman as Principal Joe in Lean on Me.
Best Actress should have been either Beverly Todd or Lynne Thigpen of the film Lean on Me.
Best Screenplay was rightly given to Dead Poets Society.
Starting with the film that got absolutely no mention or credit by the Academy, When Harry Met Sally isn't just some silly romantic comedy you can slide under the rug. This was movie magic, movie history, and probably the most memorable and heart-warming romantic comedy of all time. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend you find it and watch it. If you've never heard of it, I'm truly surprised. Most people have seen it and most people adore it. Yet, the Academy couldn't take it seriously... I mean after all it's not a "serious depressing drama" so it can't be Oscar worthy, right? WRONG. This movie is a classic. This movie will stand the test of time. It may not be the Academy's favorite genre, but that really shouldn't have anything to do with the merit of a movie. I wish the Academy would be more fair to Romance, Comedy, and Horror.
Next I want to talk about the Best Actor Oscar for this year. I have nothing against Daniel Day-Lewis. I think he is a fine and talented actor and I loved him in Last of the Mohicans and in Nine... but his performance in My Left Foot, although a very good performance, did not compare to Tom Cruise or Morgan Freeman that year. The depth and passion that Tom and Morgan put into their characters was beyond memorable. They made history. They changed perceptions. They inspired. I am left to believe that once again the Academy chose the film that no one had even heard of simply to boost its viewing audience. That isn't the purpose of the an award. They need to stop using their power to promote a film. That's so shady and political and it reduces the value of the award. Please Academy, look at your history of mistakes and learn from them. No one is going to care about your Oscar in the future when the Golden Globes may be honoring the art of film better than what you're doing.
Jessica Tandy got Best Actress. If you look at who she was up against, sure it makes perfect sense. Her competition (the nominees) were no competition. But what if Beverly Todd had been nominated for her role as Ms. Levias? Or what if Lynne Thigpen had been nominated for her role as Leonna Barrett? Why did these two amazing actresses get ignored? Why did the film Lean on Me, with an incredible plot, and amazing screenplay, and phenomenal acting performances, not get even ONE nomination? Was it racism? Was it because most of the actors were black? Was the Academy that racist in 1989? Can you seriously say that Halle Berry deserved her Oscar more than Beverly or Lynne deserved a nomination? It's all f'd up. As I go through these years and see the pathetic mistakes of the Academy, and then I see them try to compensate for them by throwing an actor an award for a lesser performance—they really have a lot to be embarrassed about. I wonder if the actors even care about getting an Oscar at this point? They have a lot of cleaning up to do.