“There are many times in history where the best work does not get awarded,”
Spike Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I’m not even talking about my own work.”

But talking about his own work, Lee said…

In 1989, Do the Right Thing was not even nominated [for best picture]. What film won best picture in 1989? Driving Miss Mother F—ing Daisy! That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter. Because 20 years later, who’s watching Driving Miss Daisy?

Lee also ragged on the Oscar-voting, likening it to a NBA referee who follows up bad calls with make-up calls.

For example: Al Pacino won an Oscar for Scent of a Woman (1992) but only after several Oscar-worthy performances including Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather II (1974). Also Denzel Washington didn’t win for Malcolm X (1992) but won for Training Day (2001).

Read his full interview at The Hollywood Reporter.


  1. I disagree with Spike Lee. Driving Miss Daisy was a fine picture. Just because people are not watching it today doesn’t mean it wasn’t an Oscar worthy piece of cinema.
    Besides, where does Spike Lee get his information from anyway?

    • We can go on and on about who deserved this or that in 1989;
      Even Director Tim Burton’s box-office smash Batman had only one nomination and win – Best Art Direction, and was un-nominated in other categories: Jack Nicholson in a dual role as the villain: egotistical mobster Jack Napier (and maniacal Joker), and composer Danny Elfman for his musical score.

      Likewise, one of the most popular romantic comedies of all time, director Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally had only one nomination (and lost) – for Nora Ephron’s witty screenplay.

      There were many overlooked components in 1989. But that’s the whole point. It’s an award and only one person gets it. People choose these award winners so we all know is subjective.
      So why do people act f*cking retarded as if people are gods?

  2. Spike is Right! To add, Denzel went two films, Malcolm X (1992) and Hurricane (1999) before he finally won it for Training Day (2001)

    • If anyone should get pissed off, it should be the director of Driving Miss Daisy!This film was the most nominated film and the Best Picture winner in 1989 (with nine nominations and four wins).

      But director Bruce Beresford was un-nominated and snubbed as Best Director! Howz that for a wonka and Driving Miss Daisy became the second film since Grand Hotel (1931/2) to win the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar without a nomination for its director. Wings (1927/28) was the first ‘Best Picture’ winner that was also not nominated for Best Director.

      Spike needs to calm down a little, many white directors have been dealt quite a bad hand too.

  3. Oh Goodness. Spike Lee… excuses excuses excuses, that’s all that Drives Spike Mother F-cking Dizzy these days.

  4. I can’t side with Spike on the Driving Miss Daisy Comment — I mean, that heart-tugging, sentimental, low-budget adaptation is a classic. What? Alfred Uhry became the first writer to win both awards for the Oscar Best Adapted Screenplay and the Pulitzer Prize for the same material!

    As far as Denzel and the others are concerned, I can see his worry and frustration.

    • Come on!
      Spike is rock solid the troov of the trooves! Take a look at the other four Best Picture nominees in 1989 then you can understand it!

      1. Best Director-winning Oliver Stone’s biography of Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July (with eight nominations and two wins – Best Director and Best Film Editing). This was Stone’s second Best Director Oscar – he had won three years earlier for Platoon (1986)

      2. Australian director Peter Weir’s film about an unorthodox English teacher at a New England prep school, Dead Poets Society (with four nominations and one win – Best Screenplay)

      3. Director Phil Alden Robinson’s own baseball fantasy – a film adaptation of W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe about an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield in Field of Dreams (with three nominations and no wins)

      4. Writer/director Jim Sheridan’s low-budget film biography of handicapped, cerebral palsy-afflicted Irish writer/artist Christy Brown, My Left Foot (with five nominations and two wins – Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress) – the first Oscar winner for Miramax. [It was the first Irish film to win a Best Picture nomination]

      So why couldn’t one of these boring things have been replaced by “Do The Right Thing”? Someone explain it now.

  5. I feel Spike’s pain. All these years, not even one Oscar Statuette, or Tyler Perry’s Money? I understand this dude. I would be f-cking pissed off too?

    • Is that suppose to be funny? It’s not. I don’t think Spike is any concerned about Tyler Perry’s money. He’s trying to criticize the Oscars and I think he’s qualified enough to do so.
      On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect Tyler Perry to throw any criticism at the Oscars. It wouldn’t stick. Would it? That’s what I thought!

  6. When Spike Lee takes a punch at the Oscars, it’s always something hidden underneath that pain. He wasn’t really talking about Do The Right Thing, or was he?
    I think he was more like,why haven’t I won anything! And understandably so especially in the face of the many boring movies, like “Hurt Locker”, that for some reason won accolades.

    • Has anyone thought about what happened to Anjelica Huston in 1989? She was a Best Supporting Actress nominee for Enemies: A Love Story.

      I would say she also should have been nominated for her role as Dolores Paley in writer/director Woody Allen’s morality play Crimes and Misdemeanors (also without a Best Picture nomination!).

      The list can go on. So we have to understand, it’s an award show.

  7. There’s always people who are mad and will be mad with whatever nominations and wins in the Oscars. In 1989 in particular, there were quite a few Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

    The war epic Glory, about the uncelebrated 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (a black regiment of Union soldiers in the Civil War) was not nominated as Best Picture or for Best Director (Edward Zwick). Also neglected in the cast were Matthew Broderick as young Col. Robert Gould Shaw, and Morgan Freeman as ‘elder statesman’ Sgt. Major John Rawlins.

    Then again why is Spike Lee complaining when his Actored/directored/wrote Do the Right Thing was nominated for two awards – Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello)?

    How many nominations do you want? Just because you made a black movie doesn’t mean it should always get nominated. This guy felt entitled, why? He was the only black director then doing anything.

    Don’t get me wrong, Do The Right Thing was a good movie, I love it too but I can say that about a bunch of movies that did not get a single nomination at all. How about that?

  8. You guys need to understand the import of Spike Lee’s statement. You cannot pretend that the Oscars haven’t been biased against black film and filmmakers.


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