‘Green Book’s’ Oscar Win Causes Backlash, Memes

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Green Book took home an Academy Award on Sunday for Best Picture, and moviegoers all over the world aren’t too pleased about it.

The film stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in the tale of two men who become unlikely friends after Mortensen’s character, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, becomes the driver of jazz musician Don Shirley, played by Ali. Upon its release, Green Book was instantly criticized for director Peter Farrelly’s simplistic way of showing race relations during the 1960s, where the film is set. The film was also accused of showing the racism against African-Americans in the South from a white person’s perspective. In addition, Shirley’s family spoke against the film and felt it insulted the musician’s legacy by diluting the struggles he faced as an African-American musician during that era.

Green Book’s Oscar win instantly upset those watching the ceremony, including the people in the audience. According to Mashable, BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee was so angry about the film’s victory that he tried to leave the ceremony while the cast and crew of the film accepted the award. The film was also subject to memes and backlash on social media. Twitter users were appalled by the decision to forgo mentioning Shirley’s name during the acceptance speech for the film. One Twitter user said that Shirley was simply a “prop” for production designers, referencing Mortensen getting all of the credit for the film’s success.

“THIS GREEN BOOK WIN IS WHAT YOU ALL DESERVE! YOU SNUB GLENN CLOSE AND YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!” wrote one Twitter user, referencing Close being looked over for Best Actress on Sunday, per Vanity Fair.

“The [sic] Green Book was Crash II: Crash In The Past,” wrote another user, referencing the 2004 winner for Best Picture, which was also criticized for overlooking issues pertaining to race.


The film’s Wikipedia page also got a makeover shortly after its Oscar win, as the information about the movie was changed multiple times after the win was announced. One major change was the editors of the page stating the film was directed by a “sexual harasser,” as they placed the words next to Farrelly’s name. According to Mashable, Farrelly has a past of flashing his penis in professional settings. Nick Vallelonga, who wrote the story of his father’s friendship with Shirley, also had “Islamophobe” and “serial liar” added to his credit. Wikipedia has since deleted the edits for the film.