Green Book has won the Oscar for best picture at the 91st Academy Awards, defeating strong competition from Roma, The Favourite, Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, and Vice.
Roma was firm favourite to win Best Picture, having won the top award at the Baftas and Critics’ Choice Awards. Heading into the Oscars, Roma led with 10 nominations, including Best Actress for Yalitza Aparicio and Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón.
However, Green Book was also a close contender for the night’s highest honour and managed to beat the Netflix-released film.
Director Farelly said: “The whole story is about love, and loving each other despite our differences, we are all the same.”
He dedicated the Oscar to his sister, saying: “She died a week before we started shooting this but she never left my side.”
The Peter Farrelly-directed comedy drama won three Golden Globes earlier this year, despite causing controversy after the family of Mahershala Ali’s Don Shirley complained that the film inaccurately portrayed the Jazz pianist.
Green Book has also faced widespread criticism for its use of the “white saviour” trope. Its story of a friendship between two real-life figures – Don Shirley and his white driver Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) – has been criticised for depicting the experiences of black Americans in the segregated South almost entirely through a white perspective, ignoring the realities of racism in order to deliver a neat story about Tony’s redemption as a racist man who learns to become a more tolerant person.
The Root’s Monique Judge criticised the film for “spoon-feeding racism to white people” and allowing them to feel comforted under the (false) pretence that racism is merely an artefact of the past and not a fundamental evil of the present.
Shirley’s family have denounced the film as a “symphony of lies”, claiming that they had been entirely left out of the filmmaking process. Particularly concerning was their accusation that the film’s central friendship was a complete fabrication and that Shirley never regarded Vallelonga as anything more than an employee.
Furthermore, there were further controversies regarding an unearthed racist tweet by Nick Vallelonga, Viggo Mortensen’s use of the N-word during a Q&A for the film, and an old article in which Farrelly admitted to flashing his penis on set as a joke. All three have since apologised for their actions.
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