After three decades of making movies, Spike Lee is finally an Oscar-nominated director. He’s also finally a director with a Best Picture nominee. The filmmaker earned these long-overdue first nominations for “BlacKkKlansman,” but the general consensus among cinephiles is that Lee should have scored nominations for Best Director and Best Picture at the 63rd Academy Awards for “Do The Right Thing.” Lee was overlooked for Best Director that year in favor of Oliver Stone (“Born on the Fourth of July”), Woody Allen (“Crimes and Misdemeanors”), Peter Weir (“Dead Poets Society”), Kenneth Branagh (“Henry V”), and Jim Sheridan (“My Left Foot”).
In the wake of Lee’s historic Oscar nomination, a clip from the 1990 Oscars is going viral for featuring actress Kim Basinger calling out the Academy live on air for snubbing “Do The Right Thing.” “Driving Miss Daisy” won Best Picture at the Oscars that year, with the other nominees being “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Field of Dreams,” and “My Left Foot.”
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Basinger took to the Oscars stage to present “Dead Poets Society” as one of the year’s Best Picture nominees, but she began her remarks by ripping the Academy for failing to acknowledge “Do the Right Thing.” For his landmark racial drama, Lee only earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, which he lost to Tom Schulman’s “Dead Poets Society” script.
“We’ve got five great films here, and they’re great for one reason: They tell the truth,” Basinger said. “But there is one film missing from this list that deserves to be on it because, ironically, it might tell the biggest truth of all. And that’s ‘Do The Right Thing.'”
As some audiences members began to clap, Basinger encouraged more to cheer for “Do The Right Thing.” Twenty-eight years after the Academy failed to acknowledge “Do The Right Thing” in a major way, it finally made one of Lee’s works a major contender. “BlacKkKlansman” is nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.
Basinger’s remarks started re-circulating after the 2019 Oscar nominations. The New York Times’ awards columnist Kyle Buchanan tweeted the video of Basinger’s introduction, which went viral with over one thousand re-tweets. Watch Basinger in the video below.
As Spike Lee celebrates his first Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Picture, I’m reminded of the 1989 Oscars, when presenter Kim Basinger went off-book to blast the Academy for snubbing Spike’s DO THE RIGHT THING pic.twitter.com/JXEMwhaBdd
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) January 22, 2019