As expected, like all the other big Hollywood events in the Trump era, the Oscars included some shots at President Donald Trump with director Spike Lee leading the charge by issuing a call for everyone to be on the “right side of history” and reject “hate” in 2020.
At the 91st Academy Awards ceremony Sunday, Lee’s film “The BlacKkKlansman” fell short for Best Director and Best Picture, but did manage to win the Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay. When Lee — who wore rings that read “love” and “hate” to the event — took the stage to accept the award, he addressed the central theme of his film: racism.
Saying that 2019 marks the 400th year since African Americans’ “ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa and brought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved,” Lee then turned his acceptance speech into a get out the vote effort, calling on the audience to be “on the right side of history” and choose “love” over “hate.”
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner,” said Lee. “Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
In response, Trump took to Twitter to decry Lee’s “racist hit,” mock him for having to use notes to give the speech, and remind him about some key developments under his presidency that have benefited African Americans.
“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!” he wrote.
Along with Best Adapted Screenplay, Lee’s film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Directing but failed to capture either. Alfonso Cuarón ended up taking home the Oscar for Best Directing for “Roma,” and “Green Book” won Best Picture. Lee’s response to the latter created a stir.
When “Green Book” was announced the winner of the coveted category, Lee got up and walked toward the back of the theater and reportedly had a conversation with another African American director, Jordan Peele. Lee then reportedly turned his back to the stage while the makers of “Green Book” gave their acceptance speech.
“Spike Lee was visibly angry when ‘Green Book’ was announced as the winner 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,” AP’s Andrew Dalton reported. “He returned to his seat when the speeches were over.”
After the event, Lee tried to downplay his response, telling reporters he’d had six glasses of champagne and thought he was “courtside at the Garden.”
“Wait a minute, what reaction did you see?” he said after the event, Fox News reports. “What did I do? No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call. Courtside! The world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Knicks coming back next year.”
“I’m snakebitten,” Lee exclaimed, still sipping wine. “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 was referencing his famous film “Do the Right Thing” losing to “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990. WATCH: