Would they ever admit it?
Best Picture - 55th Academy Awards
Nominees: "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Gandhi," "Missing," "Tootsie," "The Verdict"
What won: "Gandhi"
What should have: "E.T." or "Tootsie"
Why: "The Oscar seems to have been confused with the Nobel Peace Prize," complained New York Times critic Janet Maslin the morning after Richard Attenborough's worthy, well-acted and ever-so-slightly dull biopic won eight statuettes, including Best Picture. Her colleague Vincent Canby agreed: "'E.T.' and 'Tootsie' are films; 'Gandhi' is laboriously illustrated textbook." So do I. Spielberg's wondrous sci-fi fairytale and Sydney Pollack's riotous cross-dressing comedy are both kissed by genuine movie magic, boasting endless replay value that "Gandhi" simply cannot match. The remaining two nominees -- Costa-Gavras' Palme d'Or-winning thriller "Missing" and Sidney Lumet's rock-solid courtroom drama "The Verdict" -- also hold up better than Attenborough's noble slog. The Academy let their heads overrule their hearts here, and their heads weren't even right.