The film tells the story of renowned African-American musician Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) as he travels around the Deep South in 1962 with Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen) serving as his driver who becomes a close friend. The title refers to a guide that highlighted businesses like motels and restaurants that would serve black customers in the age of segregation.
Despite positive reviews for Ali's performance (which won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), the film has been criticized for portraying a whitewashed version of actual events. Shirley's family condemned the film upon release, arguing that Mortensen's character was only ever an employee and not a friend.
Vallelonga's son Nick wrote the screenplay, and claimed that Shirley himself had asked that only he and Vallelonga were consulted about the events on the trip, as they were the only ones on it.
Many of the original complaints about the movie have been dredged up again in light of the film's Best Picture win.
Spike Lee even attempted to storm out of the ceremony last night, later telling reporters, "The ref made a bad call."
In a post-show press conference, he also joked, "Every time somebody's driving somebody, I lose. But they changed the seating arrangement." (Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1989, the same year Do the Right Thing would have been eligible.)
Plenty of others have weighed in online. See some of the reaction from Twitter below.
Electoral college Vs. Popular vote pic.twitter.com/xK8Ou5OJm8— Elamin Abdelmahmoud (@elamin88) February 25, 2019
Green Book is a perfect best picture for a country in denial about where it is, how it got here and what is necessary to change course.— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) February 25, 2019
Green Book was not for Black people.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) February 25, 2019
It was to make white people feel good about doing little to stop racism beyond the interpersonal.
Also, the other movies were better.
ALSO, Regina, Ruth, Spike & more amazing Black folks won last night so I'm done talmbout Green a Book.
When Viggo's character pulled that "I'm blacker than you" bullshit in that movie... yeah Green Book wasn't for us.— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) February 25, 2019
Interviewer: is there something about Green Book that offends you?— two yards ahead in the brain (@mxr_ly_) February 25, 2019
Spike Lee: pic.twitter.com/fXy2TLM7yc
"The oscar for Best Picture goes to, Green Book"— Olivia Coleman is THAT bitch (@moviesandcats) February 25, 2019
Film Twitter: pic.twitter.com/rfJbYKwyVn
samuel l jackson's reaction to green book v blackkklansman winning is the biggest mood pic.twitter.com/kYkDRvx6l9— iana murray (@suspiriana) February 25, 2019