Spike Lee was reportedly furious when ‘Green Book’ took the Best Picture Award at the Oscars and attempted to walk out of the Dolby Theater.
Lee had accepted the best adapted screenplay trophy for his movie ‘BlacKkKlansman” earlier in the night.
The veteran filmmaker, 61, had waited a long time to be recognized by his peers in the movie industry beyond the honorary Oscar he received in 2016 for his contributions to movies.
Spike Lee (pictured) was reportedly furious when ‘Green Book’ took the Best Picture Award at the Oscars and attempted to walk out of the Dolby Theater
Charles B. Wessler (center) and the cast of ‘Green Book’ accept the Best Picture award onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards
But by the end of the ceremony, Lee was seething, ‘got up and walked toward the back of the auditorium in a huff’ when ‘Green Book’ was announced as having won Best Picture, Deadline reported.
He then turned back and appeared to get into an intense conversation with the movie’s writer Jordan Peele, who was behind him.
He was pacing the aisle and stormed to the back of the auditorium. When he came back, he turned his back to the stage during the speech, according to Deadline.
‘Green Book’, which was directed by Peter Farrelly, also took home Best Original Screenplay, while Best Adapted Screenplay was the sole win for “BlacKkKlansman.”
When asked about the apparent snub backstage, Lee told reporters: ‘I thought I was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call.’
Lee subsequently ended the interview by saying, ‘Whether this film won Best Picture or not, we’re on the right side of history.’
‘Green Book’ has been hailed as a tribute to racial tolerance by its makers and stars.
‘Green Book’, which was directed by Peter Farrelly, also took home Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘Green Book’ and stars as African-American pianist Dr Donald Shirley in 1960s America
But the movie has also been widely criticized by many as an outdated, sentimentalized movie full of racial stereotypes.
It stars Mahershala Ali as an African-American concert pianist in the 1960s and Viggo Mortensen as his driver.
At the Academy Awards ceremony, it won three Oscars, including best supporting actor for Ali.
The movie focuses on a tour of the segregated south undertaken by Dr. Donald Shirley at the height of the Jim Crow era in 1962.
Written by Nick Vallelonga, it charts the supposed friendship that grew between Shirley and the screenwriter’s father Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga.
Greenbook, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, tells the tale of the unlikely friendship between black pianist Dr Donald Shirley and his Italian American driver
Green Book has also been widely criticized by many as an outdated, sentimentalized movie full of racial stereotypes
Shirley’s last surviving brother, Maurice, 82, has slammed the movie, for which no family members were consulted, as ‘a symphony of lies.’
Maurice told Dailymail.com earlier this month Shirley and Vallelonga were never friends and he was fired for behaviors shown in the movie, such as his refusal to carry Shirley’s luggage
His niece Karole said: ‘To feel the right and privilege to depict your life and to tell your story without you, without any input from those who knew you… It’s a travesty.’
The 82-year-old says the film is inaccurate to the point of fiction, pointing to the presentation of Shirley as a man disconnected from his family
The family said they did not believe that any attempt was made to find or contact them, nor do they believe Nick Vallelonga’s assertion that he and his father visited Shirley before his death in 2013 and were granted permission to tell the story.
Shirley’s last surviving brother, Maurice, 82, (pictured with his wife Patricia) slammed the movie, for which no family members were consulted, as ‘a symphony of lies’ in January
Maurice said: ‘My brother made it very clear that under no circumstances did he [give permission]. My brother was compulsive. If he did not have control he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
‘I recall the conversation that we had with Donald at which time he said that Tony had put together his memoir… and wanted to publish it. It was very clear that it would not be done particularly well.’
Shirley and Vallelonga were never friends, according to his brother, so any talk of friendship is ‘bogus.’
Maurice said: ‘You have to understand my brother’s work ethic. He always made it clear to his employees just exactly what they were. They are employees. He is the employer.’
He described the idea that Vallelonga – an overt racist – became close to his brother as quite simply ‘a lie.’
Meanwhile, Spike Lee had earlier jumped into the arms of presenter, longtime collaborator and friend Samuel L. Jackson when he took the stage Sunday to accept his award with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott. The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Spike Lee holds up brass knuckles reading “hate” and “love” from his iconic film “Do The Right Thing” as he arrives at the Oscars on Sunday
Spike Lee accepts the award for best adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman” at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Charlie Wachtel, (left), and Spike Lee (center) accept the award for best adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman” at the Oscars
The veteran filmmaker had waited a long time to be recognized by his peers in the movie industry beyond the honorary Oscar he received in 2016 for his contributions to movies.
He received his first Oscar nod in 1989 for best original screenplay for “Do The Right Thing.”
After unleashing an expletive as he warned Oscar producers not to put a clock on his speech, Lee noted that his award came during Black History Month.
He recited a litany of facts, among them the 400-year-old enslavement of Africans and transport to America. He also said his grandmother was a graduate of the predominately black Spelman College, despite her mother having been a slave.
‘Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who helped build this country,’ Lee said. ‘We all connect with our ancestors … when we love our humanity.’
He also waded into politics, citing the 2020 presidential election and calling on people to mobilize and be on the right side of history.
He said: ‘Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing, you know I had to get that in there.’