Oscars 2019: Spike Lee Tried to Storm out of Theater After 'Green Book' Won Best Picture

Spike Lee made it clear he wasn't happy with Green Book being named Best Picture winner at Sunday night's Oscars awards.

The BlacKkKlansman director, whose film was also up for the coveted award, appeared to try to storm out of the Dolby Theatre after presenter Julia Roberts called Green Book as the winner.

Lee reportedly waved his arms angrily at the news and walked toward the back of the auditorium, where he was stopped at the doors, according to Deadline. He eventually made it back to his seat, although he kept his back turned to the stage during the speeches.

"Spike Lee was visibly angry when Green Book was announced as the winer of best picture at the Oscars, waving his arms in disgust and appearing to try to storm out of the Dolby Theatre before he was stopped at the doors. He returned to his seat when the speeches were over," Associated Press reporter Andrew Dalton tweeted.

Once back at his seat, Lee engaged in an intense conversation with BlacKkKlansman writer Jordan Peele, who also declined to applaud the winner, as did some others in the room.

Backstage, Lee expanded on his feelings about the snub to reporters. "I'm snakebitten," he said. "I mean, every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose. But, they changed the seating arrangement. But, in '89 I didn't get nominated, so this one we did."

Lee's 1989 film, Do The Right Thing, which he mentioned in his acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay earlier in the night, lost to Driving Miss Daisy at the 1990 Oscars. He told New York Magazine years later that "when Driving Miss Motherf—ing Daisy won Best Picture, that hurt. [But] no one's talking about 'Driving Miss Daisy' now."

Lee, who said he had six glasses of champagne, played off his reaction and compared the Academy's choice as a bad call from a referee in a New York Knicks game.

"Wait a minute, what reaction did you see? What did I do? No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a ball call. Courtside! The world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Knicks coming back next year," he said.

Mahershala Ali stars in Green Book as an African American concert pianist in the 1960s and Viggo Mortensen as his driver. The film took home three Oscars on Sunday, including Best Supporting Actor (Ali) and Best Original Screenplay.

While many hailed it as a tribute to racial tolerance, Green Book was also widely criticized as an outdated, sentimentalized film full of racial stereotypes.

When Lee won earlier in the night for Best Adapted Screenplay — his first-ever Oscar — the crowd rose into a standing ovation, and Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson.

Lee was almost immediately bleeped by ABC when he started his speech: "Do not turn that motherf—ing clock on!" Producers apparently listened to the director, as he had all the time he needed to finish his lengthy speech, which he read from folded pieces of yellow notebook paper. In it, he asked viewers and attendees to choose "love versus hate" in the 2020 election and do "do the right thing."


The speech did not impress President Donald Trump, who slammed the director Monday morning. "Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!" Trump tweeted.

Photo credit: ROBYN BECK / Contributor / Getty