Oscars: Green Book star Viggo Mortensen defends controversial frontrunner

'Is there anything wrong with Mahershala Ali directing a samurai movie in Japan?'

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 22 January 2019 11:17 GMT
Green Book star Viggo Mortensen defends controversial Oscars frontrunner

Viggo Mortensen has jumped to the defence of controversial Oscar frontrunner Green Book.

Speaking in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable with a number of fellow actors, Mortensen addressed the backlash surrounding the fact the film – which tells the story of an African-American jazz pianist’s friendship with an Italian-American bouncer – is directed and written by white men.

He explained that in he was asked in a recent interview whether he thought it was okay that “a white man directed this story.”

Mortensen continued: “I said, ‘Do you think it would be okay if Mahershala [Ali, his Green Book co-star] fell madly in love with a short story about Scottish immigrants who become cowboys in the West and about their descendants?

"If he loved that story, is there anything wrong with him directing that, or anything wrong with him directing a samurai movie in Japan? No. It’s not one thing or the other.”

Green Book is officially a frontrunner to win Best Picture at this year’s Oscars following its big win at the Producer's Guild Awards (PGAs) last weekend.

Mortensen was joined by Ali, Boseman, Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner).

The Oscar nominations are set to be announced in Hollywood today – for all the latest updates, follow along with our live blog here.

Green Book trailer

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