Green Book Movie Strikes Oscars Controversy

By: Emma Botelho (Correspondent)

Green Book took home the award for Best Film at the Oscars, but controversy is stirring on social media about whether the movie deserved to win or not.

The 91st Academy Awards took place on Sunday night, and many people were taken by surprise when Green Book took the award for Best Film. Since the movie’s debut, there has been much controversy whether the movie correctly representative of the story of famous black pianist Dr. Shirley and Bronx citizen Tony “Lip” Vallelonga.

The film, directed by Rhode Island’s Peter Farrelly, takes place in 1962 in the deep South when Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen)  is hired to drive Dr. Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) to his performances for his concert tour. The name “Green Book” comes from a book that lists many places in the South where African Americans could eat, sleep, shop, or places deemed “safe.” The movie is said to be racist by many and does not accurately represent the story between Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga.

“Green Book was not for black people. It was to make white people feel good about doing little to stop racism beyond the interpersonal,” said civil rights activist Brittney Packett on Twitter.

Maurice Shirley, brother of Dr. Don Shirley says, “In agreement with Malcolm X who proffered that ‘every White man in America profits directly or indirectly from his position vis-a-vis Negroes, profits from racism even though he does not practice it or believe it,’” “This movie, The Green Book is NOT about MY brother, but about money, white privilege, assumption, and Tony Lip!” He added.

Maurice Shirley adds that the movie was a “symphony of lies,” and “rather jarring.” In the movie, Dr. Shirley says that he had no contact with his brother; however, in real life that is inaccurate  and made Maurice “furious.”

When the movie was announced for Best Film by Julia Roberts, BlackKkKlansman director Spike Lee attempted to leave the ceremony and later said that the Oscars made a “bad call. During an interview after the Oscars, Lee was asked if he was offended by the film. He said “It wasn’t my cup of tea,” however he did not comment further.

Although there was a lot of anger toward the movie, many had positive comments calling it a “feel good movie.”

SHS Senior Macy Hyman comments on the racial signifigance of the movie. “It broke racial barriers, because instead of a black man driving a white man, a white man drove a very talented black man around the deep South to tour and I thought the movie was very deserving of winning best Film at the Oscars,” said Hyman.

SHS Librarian Ms. Allison says she is aware of the controversy over the film but has to get more information because her “feelings are complicated.” “I know they have raised some issues about it…but it was fun and enjoyable to watch,” said Jones.

“I know they have raised some issues about it…but it was fun and enjoyable to watch” Jones added.

SHS Freshman Jace Nestler says the controversy surrounding Green Book is fair, but the representation in the movie was accurate. “I feel like they did a well enough job representing the main character and that it was told enough to get a perspective on what actually happened” said Nestler.

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