Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1990

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Part III)
Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves)
Stephen Frears (The Grifters)
Barbet Schroeder (Reversal of Fortune)
Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas)

Biggest Snub:

Rob Reiner – Misery

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year where the best of the nominees were an upcoming actor who directed his film epic film and a seasoned Director who created an underworld masterpiece.  The other three nominees were good, but none came even close to the top two.

My Rankings:


5. Barbet Schroeder
4. Stephen Frears
3. Francis Ford Coppola
2. Martin Scorsese
1. Kevin Costner


5. The Godfather, Part IIINot as great as the previous two Godfather movies and they probably shouldn’t have made it. If you enjoyed the first two Godfather movies, maybe you should skip this one in order to keep the greatness of the first two without them being diminished by this one.
4. The GriftersVery dark thriller that doesn’t work as well as it could since the characters aren’t as likeable as one would expect from con artists. The cast is great and Cusack, Bening and Huston all do nice jobs with these characters as we learn to be as suspicious as they are about everything around them. The story moves in some very strange directions and doesn’t manage to thrill as much as this kind of story possibly has the potential to do. The twists and turns are interesting even if they probably don’t work as well upon repeated viewings.
3. Reversal of FortuneGood legal drama that loses a bit because very little takes place in the courtroom itself. Great acting by Irons and Silver.
2. GoodfellasExcellent look at the life of mobsters in New York in the 70’s. Scorsese does an amazing job getting us to love these characters despite everything they do. In some ways, its easy to see that this is a continuation of Coppola’s Godfather series to show the ‘modern’ effects of the mob on society. Works really well as a biopic despite the fact that we’ll never really know how much is true. Amazing cast led by little known Liotta.  One of Scorsese’s best films to date because of the realism and strong characters.
1. Dances With WolvesExcellent movie. Worthy of all it’s awards. By far, Costner’s best movie.  Great story and plot that moves along at an amazing pace.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Costner’s win is great especially since he was able to create such an amazing epic film as his directorial debut. This was clearly a personal passion project and since the Academy loves giving directing awards to their acting elite, it’s no surprise that DWW was able to win so many awards including this one and BP.  In any other year, Goodfellas woulda won tho.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1990

  1. Not that he didn’t deserve it, but it still amazes me that so many other directors (including first time actor/directors like Costner) won Best Director before Scorsese ever won his first. Good Fellas is quintessential Scorsese. Godfather III other than one or two sequences – stunk. As for Reiner and Misery – interesting side story – Warren Beatty was set to play the writer -but kept dragging his feet and would never firmly commit. Reiner finally told him shit or get off the pot – and when he still said he needed more time – he called James Caan and gave the role to him.


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