HOLLYWOOD — BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee was not happy that the controversial film Green Book won the Best Picture Oscar at Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony, and he certainly let people know it.
“I thought I was courtside at [Madison Square] Garden,” he told reporters in the press room at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. “The ref made a bad call.”
According to several people in the audience, Lee was clearly upset when presenter Julia Roberts announced the top prize at the Oscars would be awarded to Green Book.
"Spike Lee was visibly angry when Green Book was announced as the winner of Best Picture at the Oscars, waving his arms in disgust and appearing to try to storm out of the Dolby Theatre before he was stopped at the doors," Associated Press reporter Andrew Dalton tweeted. "He returned to his seat when the speeches were over."
The true story of a black musical prodigy touring the 1960s South with an Italian American driver, Green Book has faced criticism from some viewers for its perceived "white savior narrative." The family of the real life pianist Don Shirley has also criticized the film, while Green Book actor Viggo Mortensen had to apologize for using the n-word in a promotional appearance for the film. The movie's director has also apologized for previously flashing his penis in the workplace, while one of the screenwriters once tweeted a conspiracy theory claiming he had seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 terror attacks.
Asked in the media room what he thought of Green Book taking home the top prize, Lee took a shady sip of his champagne.
"Let me take another sip," he said when asked of his reaction to the win. "Next question!"
Earlier in the night, Lee won his first-ever Oscar, taking home the Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman.
Cowriter Kevin Willmott was also asked about Lee's reaction to the Best Picture announcement when he came to the press room, but said he hadn't yet had the chance to speak with Lee yet.
"I don't think his reaction is about Green Book so much," Willmott said.
Asked about BlacKkKlansman's Oscar, Willmott said, "It’s a real breakthrough that any film about race gets to win anything."