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Spike Lee & Others React to ‘Green Book’ Top Oscar Win

The 2019 Best Picture winner is lambasted as another White savior film.

Spike Lee & Others React to Green Book Top Oscar Win
Spike Lee at the 71st Annual Directors Guild of America Awards at the Ray Dolby Ballroom Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Spike Lee reportedly tried to storm out of the 2019 Oscars ceremony after the Green Book won the Best Picture award Sunday night.

“Spike Lee was visibly angry when ‘Green Book’ was announced as the winner of best picture,” journalist Andrew Dalton tweeted. “Waving his arms in disgust and appearing to try to storm out of the Dolby Theatre before he was stopped at the doors. He returned to his seat when the speeches were over.”

Lee, who, with three others, won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, addressed the matter during a press conference. When asked about his “reaction,” the director jokingly compared the moment to his passionate New York Knicks fandom.

“I thought it was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call,” he said.

The BlackKklansman director was not the only person bothered by the Green Book. Since its November 2018 release, critics decried the film starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali of being inherently racist.

The film is set in 1962 and depicts the story of an African-American pianist Don Shirley (Ali) who is driven around the Midwest and Deep South by a White chauffeur, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Mortensen). The title of the feature is the name of an actual travel guide that listed the safe motels, restaurants and gas stations Blacks could safely visit during the Jim Crow era, created by U.S. Postal worker Victor Hugo Green.

The film was lambasted for its White savior trope and accused it of appropriating a time of racial terror in America to make it palatable for White audiences.

Shirley died in 2013, and his family objected to the film and its portrayal of the musician, which according to Vulture, prompted Ali to apologize for any offense caused by his portrayal. The actor won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the controversial role.

In January 2019, Shirley’s niece, Yvonne, told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s just about the truth. We know the truth of our loved one.”

There was a great deal of rumination about the film and Hollywood’s failure to accurately tell stories about race on Twitter. Take a look at the tweets below.

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