In 1989, Spike Lee’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing premiered at Cannes, kicking off a year of controversy. Film critics blamed any potential race riots on Lee, the Cannes jury awarded Steven Soderbergh’s sex lies and videotape the Palme d’Or, something Spike Lee is still salty about, and then in 1990 came a truly momentous Academy Awards. This week, we take a look at the 62nd Oscars, honoring the films of 1989. This is the year Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture and Do the Right Thing wasn’t even nominated. It’s the year Harvey Weinstein flexed real campaign muscle, guiding My Left Foot stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker to Oscars–something he would lord over women in the industry for decades to come. With Spike Lee once again in contention this year, and up against the Miss Daisy-esque Green Book no less, we examine the narratives and Oscar strategies that took hold in 1990 and continue to impact the Academy Awards today.
Here is Matt Zoller Seitz on why Leonardo DiCaprio’s self-flagellating performance in The Revenant is bad for acting: https://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/why-leo-winning-an-oscar-for-the-revenant-would-be-bad-for-acting
And here is Natalie Walker’s epic Twitter thread mocking film stereotypes: https://twitter.com/nwalks/status/736046606940798977