Spike Lee, whose film BlacKkKlansman was Oscar-nominated for best picture, said “the ref made a bad call” when Green Book won the top prize at Sunday’s Academy Awards.
The director tried to storm out of the Dolby Theatre after the race relations drama was announced the winner at the end of the Oscars show, according to various media accounts, then returned to his seat, where he turned his back on the stage during the acceptance speeches.
The film, which based on a true story of the unlikely friendship between a black pianist and his white driver touring the racially segregated Deep South during the 1960s, also won for best original screenplay and supporting actor, Mahershala Ali.
In the press room backstage, Lee recalled that his film Do The Right Thing had failed to earn a best picture nomination for the Oscars in 1989, the year that Driving Miss Daisy – about a black chauffeur for a white elderly Southern woman – won the award.
“I’m snakebit. Every time someone is driving somebody, I lose,” Lee told reporters in response to a question about his reaction to for Green Book’s win.
The director, a fan of the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks, said when he heard Green Book announced as the year’s best picture winner: “I thought I was courtside at the (Madison Square) Garden, and the ref made a bad call.”
Lee won an Oscar on Sunday for best adapted screenplay as a co-writer for BlacKkKlansman. Other writers from the film declined to address Lee’s reaction to the choice of best picture.
“We’re just glad to be here, glad we won,” said the BlacKkKlansman co-writer Kevin Willmott. “It’s a real breakthrough that any film about race gets to win.”
Some critics faulted Green Book for portraying a white character, in this film played by Viggo Mortensen, as the main protagonist in a film about discrimination against black people.
The film also sparked controversy when relatives of the pianist at the centre of the story, Don Shirley, complained his depiction in the movie contained inaccuracies. Ali, who plays Shirley in the film, has said he respects the family’s views and had spoken with them.
In addition, accusations of sexual impropriety by the film’s director, Peter Farrelly, from the 1990s resurfaced after the film’s release. Farrelly has apologised for his conduct.
Source: The Guardian