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Academy Award Nominations

February 25, 1990

Your editorial seems to imply racism in the academy's passing over "Do the Right Thing" for a best picture nomination. I very much doubt this is the case. The efforts of critics and Lee to make a cause celebre of every slight of the film obscures the fact that just because it is the work of an outspoken black director does not automatically confer greatness on it. It has to work dramatically, artistically and technically for each individual who sees it, including academy members, no matter what their race, age or political leanings.

I am a black film industry professional (not an academy member) and while I found "Do the Right Thing" to be a surprising technical improvement over "School Daze," and occasionally interesting artistically, it did not work for me dramatically, and I would not have considered it of best picture quality as I did for "Glory," which might have been nominated had it not been for that more "respectable" stage refugee "Driving Miss Daisy."

Critics, academy members, and the public have rarely seen eye-to-eye on most films of the last 20 years and not only is "Do the Right Thing" not an exception, it does not rate the controversies that have been created over it. Taking a sour-grapes attitude toward it will not do it or the future prospects of black filmmakers any good.

RICH MITCHELL

Los Angeles

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