It's hard to know just who in the Academy's membership voted for Green Book, but to an outsider, its crowning felt like a huge step backwards. While the voting body has made significant efforts to diversify its membership in recent years, the clumsy movie's victory feels like a win for the old guard. Green Book, in both design and messaging, is coated in cobwebs, especially compared to fellow nominees like Black Panther, Roma, The Favourite, and BlacKkKlansman. Just look at the past Best Picture wins to which it's getting compared: The easiest historical parallel to make is Driving Miss Daisy, the victor 30 years ago. In 1989, while Miss Daisy triumphed, Spike Lee's still-vital Do The Right Thing, a movie that doesn't placate anyone, didn't even get a Best Picture nomination.
That precedent felt incredibly relevant last night as it was echoed in Green Book's win, which was at the expense of Lee's BlacKkKlansman. Lee, who had won his long overdue first Oscar for Adapted Screenplay earlier in the night, was reportedly so frustrated by the final result that he tried to leave the ceremony. Holding a glass of champagne and taking swigs from it, Lee addressed his perturbation in the press room. "I'm snakebit," he said. "Every time somebody's driving somebody, I lose." Asked specifically about his reaction to the win, he made an analogy to his beloved New York Knicks: "I thought I was court side at the Garden. The ref made a bad call." Lee continued to gleefully express his disapproval as he hit the Vanity Fair afterparty.