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Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 film adapted from the Alfred Uhry play of the same title for Warner Bros. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford with Morgan Freeman reprising Hoke's role and Jessica Tandy playing Miss Daisy. The story defines Daisy and her point of view through a network of relationships and emotions by focusing on her home life, synagogue, friends, family, fears, and concerns. Hoke is rarely seen out of Miss Daisy's presence, although the title implies that the story is told from his perspective. Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for Best Picture and was the last PG-rated film to do so.


It is 1948 and Mrs. ("Miss") Daisy Werthan, a 72-year-old widow, lives in Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, alone except for an African American housemaid named Idella (Rolle). After a driving mishap where her Chrysler automobile is totaled, Miss Daisy’s son Boolie (Aykroyd) tells her she will have to get a chauffeur because no insurance company will insure her. She refuses, but Boolie is determined to find her one. Meanwhile, she is stuck at home and is unable to run errands or visit friends.

Boolie finds a man named Hoke Colburn (Freeman), who had driven for a local judge until he died, and he decided to remain in the area rather than accompany the widow when she moved away.

Miss Daisy at first refuses to let Hoke drive her, going so far as to walk to the local Piggly Wiggly. It is revealed that her reluctance to be driven around is because she is embarrassed. People might think she is either too old to drive, or so well off that she can afford a driver.

Daisy comes to accept Hoke and the fact that she needs him to drive her around. Miss Daisy finds out that Hoke cannot read, so she teaches him how to read. Over the years Hoke drives Daisy in a succession of vehicles including a Hudson Commodore and a series of Cadillacs. When it became time to trade in the car for a new vehicle, Hoke often purchases the previous car and uses it as his personal vehicle.

Miss Daisy has Hoke drive her to her brother's 90th birthday party in Mobile, Alabamamarker. Hoke reveals, during the trip, that it is the first time that he has left his home state of Georgia. During their trip from Atlanta to Mobile, Daisy realizes in several circumstances that Hoke's race affects how others treat him; her eyes are further opened to the social aspects of racial prejudice. As Daisy and Hoke spend time together, she gains appreciation for Hoke's many skills.

One day in 1963, while watching The Edge of Night in the kitchen, Idella dies. Miss Daisy is saddened because Idella was very close to her. She and her family attend the funeral, and are given a place of honor in the seating arrangements, and are the only white people in attendance.

The racism and prejudice that permeated American society is explored in this movie, especially when Hoke is questioned by a pair of racist Georgia highway patrolmen, who also make out-of-earshot comments about Miss Daisy being an "old Jew woman" and Hoke being an "old nigger". After her synagogue, the The Temple marker, is bombed Daisy realizes that she, as a Jew, is subject to many of the same prejudices as Hoke. But in the course of the movie, American society undergoes radical changes, and Miss Daisy soon attends a dinner in which Dr. Martin Luther King gives a speech. She initially invites Boolie to the dinner, but he declines, and suggests that Miss Daisy invite Hoke. Miss Daisy does not mention the invitation to Hoke until he is driving her to the dinner. Her reluctance to invite Hoke underlines the passive racism that often goes unnoticed when compared with more open and aggravated racism.

A few years later, Hoke comes to her house to find her in a confused and agitated state. He calls Boolie and tells him his mother is upset. Before her son arrives Miss Daisy tells Hoke that he's her best friend and holds his hand. Her son arranges for her to enter a retirement home.

Two years later, in 1973, the family home is sold, and Hoke has given up driving. Hoke is now 85 and Miss Daisy is 97. Boolie and Hoke meet at Miss Daisy's house one final time before the new owner takes possession, and they drive over to the retirement home to visit Miss Daisy. The movie ends on Thanksgiving with Hoke feeding Miss Daisy a piece of pie.


Academy Awards

At the 62nd Academy Awards for 1989, Driving Miss Daisy received a total of four awards from nine nominations. The four awards included: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Makeup, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The remaining five nominations included: Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), Best Supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

Driving Miss Daisy also achieved the following distinctions at the 62nd Academy Awards ceremony:

  • it is the only film based on an off Broadway production ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture;
  • it is the last Best Picture winner to date to receive a PG rating;
  • it is the last film to date (and one of only three films ever) to win Best Picture without having received a Best Director nomination; and
  • Jessica Tandy, at age 80, became both the oldest winner and the oldest nominee ever in the history of the Best Actress category.

Other awards

Driving Miss Daisy also won three Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor Morgan Freeman, and Best Actress Jessica Tandy) in the Comedy/Musical genre. At the 1989 Writers Guild of America Awards, the film won in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Rounding out its United Statesmarker awards, the film won both Best Picture and Best Actor from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. In the United Kingdommarker, Driving Miss Daisy was nominated for four British Academy Film Awards, with Jessica Tandy winning in the Best Actress category.

Filming locations


The film's score was composed by Hans Zimmer, who won a BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television for his work. The score was performed entirely by Zimmer, done electronically using samplers and synthesizers, and did not feature a single live instrument. There is a scene, however, in which the "Song to the Moon" from the opera Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák is heard on the car radio as sung by Gabriela Beňačková. The soundtrack was issued on Varese Sarabande.



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