Spike Lee, Sore Loser: ‘Ref Made a Bad Call’ on Best Picture

Spike Lee (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty)
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty

New Oscar winner Spike Lee told journalists at the 91st Academy Awards that “the ref made a bad call” when the Oscar for Best Picture went to Green Book rather than his own film, BlacKkKlansman.

Lee’s film won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and had been nominated in several other categories, including Best Picture.

But when Green Book won, he appeared to leave the Dolby Theatre.

As the Hollywood Reporter noted: “When Green Book received the award for best picture at Sunday night’s 2019 Oscars, director Spike Lee — whose film BlacKkKlansman was also nominated in the same category — was visibly upset. … When the best picture winner was announced, Lee turned away from the stage as the Green Book team went up to accept the award. Reports later said he left the room not long after.”

Later, clutching his Oscar — his first competitive win in a lifetime of acclaimed filmmaking — and a glass of champagne, Lee seemed bitter about the Best Picture loss as he faced a post-ceremony press conference.

“I’m snake-bit. I mean, every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose,” he said, referring to the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy, which won Best Picture while Lee’s groundbreaking film, Do the Right Thing, was nominated in two categories but did not win an Oscar.

“But in ’89 I didn’t get nominated, so … this one we did. For Best Picture,” he added.”

Asked again about his reaction to Green Book winning for Best Picture, Lee took another sip of champagne, and joked: “Next question!”

“Oh, wait a minute — what reaction did you see? What did I do? No, I thought I was courtside at the Garden, the ref made a bad call.”

Lee also noted that he was on his sixth glass of champagne.

“Whether we won Best Picture or not, this film will stand the test of time, being on the right side of history,” he concluded.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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