President Donald Trump called out Oscar winner Spike Lee for taking a “racist” shot at him during the screenwriter’s acceptance speech.
Lee won the Academy Award Sunday night for best adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman,” a film about an African-American police detective and his Jewish American partner infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado in the 1970s.
“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who helped build this country,” Lee said, while accepting the award Dolby Theater in Hollywood. “We all connect with our ancestors, we will have love, wisdom regaining our humanity. It will be a powerful moment.”
“The 2020 election is around the corner,” he continued. “Let’s all mobilize; let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!”
The Tinseltown audience responded with a standing ovation.
In introducing “BlacKkKlansman,” which was also nominated for best picture, two-time Oscar winner Barbra Streisand said she loved it.
“It was based on the truth. And truth is especially precious these days,” Streisand said, adding though the film was set in the 70s, it is “just as relevant now,” a comment that drew applause from the attendees.
Trump tweeted in response to Lee’s speech, “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!”
Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
Lee was reportedly “furious” when “Green Book” topped “BlackKkKlansman” in the best picture category.
“Green Book” is about the friendship that develops between African-American classical pianist Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) and Italian-American bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) during a concert tour through the Deep South in the 1960s.
The entertainment news site Deadline reported that Lee was “clearly furious” over “Green Book” beating his movie.
“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,” Andrew Dalton of The Associated Press added. “He returned to his seat when the speeches were over.”
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. He returned to his seat when the speeches were over.
— Andrew Dalton (@andyjamesdalton) February 25, 2019
CNN reported that “Green Book” stirred controversy because it advances a “white savior” narrative.
The film’s director Peter Farrelly rejected that criticism, telling Vanity Fair that the film’s two main characters helped each other.
“The whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other despite our differences,” Farrelly said during the acceptance speech.
Lee appeared to be in a somewhat better frame of mind after the awards show as he spoke to reporters while he drank champagne.
“I’m snake-bit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” Lee joked. The director was referring to “Driving Miss Daisy,” which won best film in 1989, while his film “Do the Right Thing” was not nominated in that category.
“Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose.” For Spike Lee, this year’s #Oscars veered from joy to disappointment. @AP‘s @lynnelber considers the “BlacKkKlansman” director’s roller-coaster evening: https://t.co/fDzbGcuyzE pic.twitter.com/XuETcCgTD6
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 25, 2019
Lee was nominated in the category of best original screenplay, but did not win.
Similar to “Green Book,” “Driving Miss Daisy” focuses on the friendship between a white woman (played by Jessica Tandy) and her African-American chauffeur Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman).
Sunday night was Lee’s first competitive Oscar win.
In 2015, the writer-director-producer received an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to film.
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