By Ralph Novak
Updated November 20, 1989 12:00 PM

>JOHN CUSACK Fighting his way out of the post-adolescent romance bag, Cusack handles the transition gracefully in Fat Man and Little Boy as a young scientist who’s still youthful in many ways but is an all-out adult intellectually.

ETHAN HAWKE In a cast that included Jack Lemmon, Kathy Baker, Ted Danson and Olympia Dukakis, Hawke (who first surfaced in Dead Poets Society) was in a learning situation in Dad and seemed to make the most of it.

MARY STUART MASTERSON Another refugee from the teen gender wars, Masterson touchingly portrays the moral and practical dilemmas confronting a young single mother in Immediate Family.