How Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy award for Best Picture is kind of hard to fathom when you see the other entrants on the list. Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, and My Left Foot all got beat out by a man driving around an old woman who was meaner than a wet hen and verbally abused him for a good portion of the movie. How in the world did that happen? Well, to be quite honest the Academy Awards have not been a merit-based show for a long time now, and anyone that says otherwise is attempting to fool themselves.
There’s nothing to say that it wasn’t a good movie, never that. But pitted against the likes of those listed above Driving Miss Daisy should have come in at around second or third runner up at best. While the story was touching and definitely had a point to it the content was kind of tame compared to the others and didn’t have as much of an impact despite the very real idea of the dynamic between Daisy and Hoke. They made quite the pair for a while since Hoke was determined not to let Daisy get to him. But that’s about where the fun ended in this film is in the interactions between the two of them. That made it a fun film to watch, but not award material for certain.
Dead Poets Society was a film about rebelling against the norm, seizing the day and living within it instead of conforming as so many do. My Left Foot was the story of adversity and how it was overcome through every obstacle that was put in the way. Born on the Fourth of July was about the disillusionment of Vietnam and what it meant to come home after having served for one’s country, only to be hated and reviled upon coming back to the USA. Field of Dreams was even about an idea to reunite a father and son that had grown apart when the latter was still young. How in the world did Driving Miss Daisy get past those?
Some folks would love to say it’s a conspiracy but in all honesty the reason has to be because the awards, and by extension the judges, are as biased as they come. It was the same way when Avatar lost out to The Hurt Locker. It’s about public interest and what the judges figure the people want to see. In a sense the awards shows have become like Reality TV, the judges tend to give the people what they think they want, only to make them realize that it’s something the judges wanted instead just to shake things up. Seriously, that’s about the only way that some films should have ever won an Academy award. Whatever they lacked was bolstered by the opinions of the judges that acted as a buffer that made it possible to beat out better films. It doesn’t matter if there’s 6,000 ballots being tallied, the outcome is usually in the hands of those that compile them all and send them forward.