×

Spike Lee Storms Out of Oscars After ‘Green Book’ Win, Says Academy Made ‘Bad Call’

Not everyone was happy about “Green Book” winning best picture.

According to reports from inside the Dolby Theatre, “BlackKklansman” director Spike Lee was visibly upset by the announcement and tried to leave the ceremony before the speeches had concluded.

“I’m snakebit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” he later told reporters backstage, in reference to his breakout film, “Do the Right Thing,” losing the Oscar for Best Screenplay to “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990. “I thought I was court side at the Garden and the refs made a bad call.”

After presenter Julia Roberts announced “Green Book” as Best Picture, AP reporter Andrew Dalton was one of several journalists who noticed Lee wave his arms in anger before storming out of the theater. However, before he could leave, he was stopped at the doors and was forced to return to his seat once the speeches had stopped.

Jordan Peele, the Oscar-winning writer-director behind last year’s “Get Out,” reportedly didn’t clap either, nor did other attendees nearby.

The backlash appears to be in response to controversy surrounding the film, which had been criticized for perpetuating what some saw as a “white savior” narrative approach to examining race relations. The film  topped “BlacKkKlansman,” “Roma” and other critical favorites to win the night’s top prize. “Green Book” was also embroiled in controversy involving the family members of the late Don Shirley, whom the film was based on.

Previously, Shirley’s nephew, Edwin Shirley III, and brother, Maurice Shirley openly criticized the film in an interview with Shadow And Act, calling its portrayal of Dr. Don Shirley a “Symphony of Lies” – a statement that film star Viggo Mortensen called “unjustified” and “unfair.”

Soon after, screenwriter Nick Vallelonga was implicated in yet another controversy when anti-Muslim tweets resurfaced, showing that Vallelonga had previously upheld a false conservative rumor that American Muslims could be seen cheering after 9/11.

Vallelonga later apologized for the tweets writing in a statement, “I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with ‘Green Book.’ I especially deeply apologize to the incredibly brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali and all member of the Muslim faith for the hurt I have caused. I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. “Green Book” is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”

Finally, director Peter Farrelly was embroiled in his own controversy after reports surfaced about how he would regularly flash his penis two decades ago on the sets of films like “There’s Something About Mary.”

“True. I was an idiot,” he said in an apology. “I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”

More Film

  • Ryan Simpkins

    Ryan Simpkins Joins Fox-Disney's 'Fear Street' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Simpkins has joined Fox-Disney’s second installment of 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Fear Street” trilogy, based on the novels by R.L. Stine. Leigh Janiak is helming all three films. Previously announced cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, McCabe Slye, Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Ashley Zukerman, Fred Hechinger, Julia [...]

  • MPAA Logo

    Motion Picture Association of America Hires Emily Lenzner as Communications Chief

    The Motion Picture Association of America has appointed veteran public relations executive Emily Lenzner as its executive VP of global communications and public affairs. She will report to Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and oversee the trade group’s communications team in the U.S. and internationally. Lenzner will start Aug. 1 and be based at the MPAA’s [...]

  • 'Cats' Teaser Trailer: See Taylor Swift

    Taylor Swift Unveils Feline Moves in 'Cats' Behind-the-Scenes Teaser

    Taylor Swift fans finally get to see some of the results of all those years spent studying her roommates Meredith and Olivia — and also, not incidentally, some time with a choreographer — in a new behind-the-scenes teaser for the movie “Cats.” The three-and-a-half-minute featurette has footage of Swift striking crouching feline moves as well [...]

  • CGR’s Immersive Premium Format Set for

    Immersive Theater Technology Set for US Debut in Los Angeles

    French multiplex company CGR Cinemas has selected the Regal LA Live as the first U.S. theater to use its Immersive Cinema Experience technology. The ICE format will be unveiled in the fall at the downtown location in a partnership between CGR and AEG. The companies made the announcement Wednesday but did not reveal which title [...]

  • Amazon Developing Original Series Based on

    Amazon Studios Buys 'Selah and the Spades,' Will Develop Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to “Selah and the Spades,” a gripping look at a prep school drug dealer, Variety has learned. The film marks the feature debut of writer and director Tayarisha Poe and had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was a favorite with critics. Amazon has [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Wound African Cinema Berlin Film

    Finance Forum Brings African WIP Into Focus at Durban FilmMart

    The 10th edition of the Durban FilmMart, which unspools parallel to the 40th Durban Intl. Film Festival, will feature 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress taking part in its annual Finance Forum. The leading co-production market on the continent, the Forum brings together producers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, funding bodies, and other industry players from across the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content