Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1989

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Woody Allen (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
Kenneth Branagh (Henry V)
Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot)
Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July)
Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society)

Biggest Snub:

Giuseppe Tornatore – Cinema Paradiso

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year with four amazing nominees and one very good one yet any of them could have been deserving winners in this category.

My Rankings:


5. Jim Sheridan
4. Peter Weir
3. Woody Allen
2. Kenneth Branagh
1. Oliver Stone


5. My Left FootDay Lewis’ performance holds up an ok story. There is a reason that he is the sole owner of three best actor Oscars. The rest of the cast is also good, but Fricker and McAnally stand out as his supportive parents.
4. Henry VOne of the best adaptations of a Shakespeare play. Gives so much depth to the story and the characters that isn’t possible to easily achieve on a stage. Branagh proved to the world how accomplished an actor and director he was at such a young age. Amazing cast of so many famous faces. Makes me wish he adapted even more of The Bard’s plays for the screen.
3. Crimes and MisdemeanorsAllen does it again. He is able to create great characters with realistic problems for us to judge.  Superb cast led by Martin Landau who gives such an amazing performance as a man torn apart by the problems he is faced with.  The way that Allen manages to tell numerous stories all at once and then finding ways to connect them is done expertly here and I can understand how he could get (yet) another Oscar Nomination for Best Director for this film.  Great morality play as many of the characters face dilemmas that can be easily related to by most people in some way.  Dialogue is superb to listen to because it flows so well.
2. Born on the Fourth of July  – Once again Stone gives us an amazing look at what it was like growing up in the 60’s and how patriotism and duty change one’s life forever. Cruise is amazing in this film as the title character and truly makes us believe everything he is going for. The fake wigs that many of characters wear in order to make them seem more like part of the 60’s counter culture takes away a bit from the seriousness of it all, but there is really no doubt as to how genuine this all feels.  The anti-war message is once again clear here and it proved that it’s possible to tell similar stories in completely different ways yet remain effective in both of them. 1989 was a great year at the Oscars, and there is no doubt that this film probably should have won Best Picture over the eventual winner Driving Miss Daisy (1989).  At least Stone still got the award for Best Director.
1. Dead Poets SocietyOne of the best movies about teacher student relationships. Williams is amazing here as are the young actors portraying his students. Extremely moving and touching film that works on numerous levels.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Stone once again showed how great a director he can be especially with films about the Vietnam War since it is a subject so personal for him.

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

2 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1989

  1. Again, your rankings confuse the hell outta me. You have Weir in 4th position for directing the film you have in 1st. As much as I was impressed with Born on the 4th, Stone should’ve won for Platoon – a better film. This year – I would’ve given it to Weir – for working with all those young actors (and Williams in a serious role) and a beautifully told story (which won the Oscar for its screenplay by Tom Schulman). Allen also did his usual wonderful job (withone of my favorite films of his).


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