Why Is Green Book's Oscars Triumph Causing Controversy?

One News Page Staff


by 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint

Many viewers lauded the recent 2019 Academy Awards to be the best ceremony there had been in many years. Thanks to an increase in the diversity of winners and in the removal of a formal host – as well as the fact that awards were no longer being given out during commercial breaks – the ceremony was praised for being efficient and refreshing in many ways. However, as always, the final decisions made with regard to the big Hollywood awards were met with some controversy – and this year, it’s mainly the choice for Best Picture which appears to have created some dissonance both between viewers and between industry professionals.

Green Book, a biopic focusing on African-American musician Don Shirley and Italian-American bodyguard/chauffeur Tony ‘The Lip’ Vallelonga, seized the Best Picture award ahead of popular candidates such as The Favourite, Black Panther, Roma and BlacKkKlansman. The film, which handles themes of racism, has been criticized for being a ‘white saviour’ movie – and for the fact that, according to BBC News, there have been concerns over just how reliable the story actually is to real events. Some members of Mr Shirley’s family have, reportedly, claimed the movie to be a ‘symphony of lies’.

Further to this, criticism built when Green Book’s mainly white production team took to the stage to claim their ultimate gong. Some critics have felt that the movie acts as an unfair dispensation of guilt for white people guilty of racial profiling and outright racism. In short, with the movie up against the likes of BlacKkKlansman, Roma and Black Panther – many have thought the win to be in poor taste. BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee was thought to have tried leaving the ceremony venue when Green Book’s win was announced by Julia Roberts at the end of the evening. “I thought I was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call,” he advised reporters.

Critics Slam 'Green Book' Oscar Win
Critics Slam 'Green Book' Oscar Win [video]

Green Book is a movie which has continued to garner controversy all the way up to its eventual triumph. Director Peter Farrell had recently apologized for having reportedly exposed himself to colleagues in the 1990s, while Nick Vallelonga, son of Tony, had old tweets exposed where he had claimed to have seen Muslims celebrating the World Trade Center attacks. To say it’s a Best Picture to have been met with division is putting things mildly – though it’s a film which does still have its fans (clearly in the Academy, at the very least!).