Spike Lee says Green Book’s Oscars success a “bad call”

The BlacKkKlansman director attempted to leave the Dolby Theater when the Best Picture winner was announced.

February 25, 2019
Spike Lee says <i>Green Book</i>’s Oscars success a “bad call” Spike Lee, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for 'BlacKkKlansman,' poses in the press room during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.   Frazer Harrison/Getty

Spike Lee has expressed dismay at Green Book winning Best Picture at this year's Oscars, comparing it to a bad call by a basketball referee. Various media reports suggest Lee tried to walk out L.A.'s Dolby Theater when the winner of the night's biggest prize was announced, but returned to his seat only to turn his back on the acceptance speeches being given by the movie's director and producers.


Green Book, the story of a friendship between a black musician and his Italian-American driver set in the 1960s deep south, also won Oscars for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Spike Lee, meanwhile, won his first ever Oscar on Sunday night for Best Adapated Screenplay with BlacKkKlansman.

Speaking to reporters backstage after the awards, Lee compared the 2019 ceremony to the 1989 Oscars when his classic Do The Right Thing lost to Driving Miss Daisy. “I’m snakebit. Every time someone is driving somebody, I lose,” he told reporters. Asked how he felt to hear Green Book named Best Picture winner, Lee added: “I thought I was courtside at the [Madison Square] Garden, and the ref made a bad call.”

You can see more of Lee's post-Oscars reaction below.

Spike Lee says Green Book’s Oscars success a “bad call”