Oscar: Tandy, Jessica–Best Actress in Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Jessica Tandy won the Best Actress oscar in 1989 for “Driving Miss Daisy.”  Tandy, one of the Academy’s oldest winners, competed in the lead category with isabelle Adjani in “Camille Claudel,” Pauline Collins in “Shirley Valentine,” Jessica lange in “The Music Box,” and Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

A mildly entertaining adaptation of Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a simple black man (Morgan Freeman), who’ s hired as chauffeur for a cantankerous old Southern woman (Jessica Tandy), and winds up being her most loyal companion

The film, directed by Bruce Beresford in a smooth but undistinguished style, benefits from the likable performances by the two leads.

Dan Aykroyd is cast in an unusual “straight” role as Daisy’s son, though you can never quite forget who’s playing the part.

The film received nine nominations, winning four: Best Picture, Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Makeup. Driving Miss Daisy had no violence and no sex-it was a middlebrow movie about virtues and decent values.

The film’s low budget ($7.5 million), and the fact that it was made without big-name stars, commanded the Academy members’ attention. Producer Zanuck observed after winning: “Anything that tugs at your heart and emotions has a good chance for the Best Picture.”

Oscar Nominations: 9

Picture, produced by Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck
Screenplay (Adapted): Alfred Uhry
Actress: Jessica Tandy
Actor: Morgan Freeman
Supporting Actor: Dan Aykroyd
Art direction-set decoration: Bruno Rubeo; Crispian Sallis
Film Editing: Mark Warner
Costume design: Elizabeth McBride
Makeup: Manlio Rocchetti, Lynn Barber, and Kevin Haney

Oscar Awards: 4


Oscar Context

The most nominated film in 1989, “Driving Miss Daisy,” received four Oscars out of its 9 nominations, including Picture, Screenplay, and Actress. The biggest scandal was that the film’s director, Bruce Beresford, failed to receive recognition from his peers in the Directors Branch.

The other Best Picture nominees represented a mixed bag in genre and quality: Oliver Stone’s Vietnam drama “Born on the Fourth of July” with 8 nominations, “My Left Foot” with 5, “Dead Poets Society” with 4, and “Field of Dreams” with 3.


Miss Daisy Werthan (Jessca Tandy)

Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman)

Boolie Werthan (Dan Aykroyd)

Florine Werthan (Patti LuPone)

Idella (Esther Rolle)

Mis McClatchey (Joann Havrilla)

Oscar (William Hall Jr.)

Dr. Weil (Alvin M. Sugraman)

nonie (Clarice F. Geigerman)

Miriam (Muriel Moore)


(Zanuck Company Productions)