Annal: 1989 Academy Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Academy Award® in the year 1989.

Film:Rain Man

Rain Man

Barry Levinson

Rain Man is the kind of touching drama that Oscars are made for—and, sure enough, the film took Academy honors for best picture, director, screenplay, and actor (Dustin Hoffman) in 1988. Hoffman plays Raymond, an autistic savant whose late father has left him $3 million in a trust. This gets the attention of his materialistic younger brother, a hot-shot LA car dealer named Charlie (Tom Cruise) who wasn’t even aware of Raymond’s existence until he read his estranged father’s will. Charlie picks up Raymond and takes him on a cross-country journey that…

Film:The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist

Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan adapted Anne Tyler’s novel into this mopey comedy which, oddly enough, took the New York Film Critics Circle’s best picture award (a case of strategic voting getting out of hand). William Hurt plays a depressed travel writer struggling to come to terms with his son’s death. He buys a dog for companionship, then hires an eccentric dog trainer (Geena Davis, who won an Oscar for her role) to teach it to behave. She, in turn, teaches him to reconnect to life. But as he is beginning to admit his feelings for her to himself, he is blindsided by the…

Film:Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons

Stephen Frears

A sumptuously mounted and photographed celebration of artful wickedness, betrayal, and sexual intrigue among depraved 18th-century French aristocrats, Dangerous Liaisons (based on Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses) is seductively decadent fun. The villainous heroes are the Marquise De Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte De Valmont (John Malkovich), who have cultivated their mutual cynicism into a highly developed and exquisitely mannered form of (in-)human expression. Former lovers, they now fancy themselves rather like demigods…

Film:Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Burning

Alan Parker

Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe star in Mississippi Burning, a well-intentioned and largely successful civil-rights-era thriller. Using the real-life 1964 disappearance of three civil rights workers as its inspiration, the film tells the story of two FBI men (Hackman and Dafoe, entertainingly called “Hoover Boys” by the locals) who come in to try to solve the crime. Hackman is a former small-town Mississippi sheriff himself, while Dafoe is a by-the-numbers young hotshot. (Yes, there is some tension between the two.) The movie has an interesting fatalism, as…

Film:Working Girl

Working Girl

Mike Nichols

Melanie Griffith had a fling with stardom in this Mike Nichols comedy about an executive secretary (Griffith) who can’t get her deserved shot at upward mobility in the brokerage industry. Hardly taken seriously by male bosses, things aren’t really any better for her once she starts working for a female exec (Sigourney Weaver, never more delightful), a narcissist with a boy-toy banker (Harrison Ford) and a tendency to steal the best ideas from her underlings. When Weaver’s character is laid up with a broken leg, Griffith poses as a replacement wheeler-dealer,…

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