Oscars 2019: Green Book was the worst “best picture” winner in several years

For once, Hollywood was beginning to “get it right.” Mahershala Ali won a well-deserved Oscar for “best supporting actor,” Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse was awarded for “best animated feature” and even Marvel’s Black Panther was getting recognized for its groundbreaking cast and directing. Throughout the night, the Hollywood establishment was acknowledging women and minorities, awarding African-American production design and honoring Hispanic and Asian-American filmmakers. Even a film revolving around a gay rock star (Bohemian Rhapsody) was awarded four trophies. So what went wrong? There’s only one answer to that: Green Book. At the end of the night, like always, the winner for “best picture” is announced, and the film that received the award was none other than the real-life segregation-era drama. While many viewers admired the film as a feel-good depiction of what it means for people to unite against all odds, many critics and members of the audience (including director Spike Lee) were extremely disappointed by the Academy’s choice. Its criticism revolved around the film’s seemingly simplistic take on race relations, and some labeled it as a “white savior” movie. Even the real-life family of the main character criticized the film for its false narrative. Green Book centers around a world-class black pianist, Dr. Don Shirley, who embarks on a tour in the Deep South in the 1960s. He recruits Tony Lip, a rough Italian-American from the Bronx. The two men seem to look over their differences, and soon develop an unexpected bond while battling through race relations in the Jim Crow era. The plot seems like one that’ll please audiences, but some criticized the film for appealing to white audiences a bit too much. Green Book was a film created for “white people to feel good about themselves,” many have said on social media sites like Twitter. The movie is a classic feel-good flick about race: white guy is racist, says racist things; white guy meets black guy; black guy confronts white guy’s racism and the two become friends; white guy likes that one black person. We’ve seen this narrative before, and it’s tired and overrated. Most of all, it exemplifies the Academy’s need to almost always award race-related films that are only seen through a white lens. The Academy needs to diversify its members and stop awarding “white savior complex” films. Enough with the “wise black guy bestows his wisdom on ignorant, racist white person only to improve his character development” narrative. There were many other nominees up for “best picture” that were worthy of the award: Black Panther for one, which was not only a box-office success but a cultural one as well. Or Roma, a film about domestic workers with an almost entirely Latino cast. In conclusion, there were many films that were deserving of “best picture” at the Oscars; the media outrage as well as the disappointed audience members goes to show that Green Book was one of the worst “best picture” choices that the Academy has made in a very, very long time.