HOLLYWOOD, CA — Spike Lee, the outspoken filmmaker who won his first Academy Award for best-adapted screenplay as a co-writer of “BlacKkKlansman,” lived up to his reputation backstage, taking shots at the night’s best picture winner “Green Book” while sending reporters into laughing fits.
Some critics have long held that Lee, who also directed “BlacKkKlansman,” was snubbed for not being nominated for best picture for his 1989 film “Do the Right Thing.” That year’s winner, “Driving Miss Daisy” was about a black man serving as a driver of a white woman in the Deep South, while “Green Book” is about a white man serving as a driver for a black man in the Deep South.
“I’m snakebit,” Lee told reporters at the Dolby Theatre Sunday night when asked if the Oscar made up for his past snubs. “I mean, every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose.”
Lee, who said he was on his sixth glass of champagne, added that they just “changed the seating arrangement.”
When asked to directly comment on the best picture win for “Green Book,” Lee said, “Let me take another sip. Next question.”
He did eventually say, “I thought I was courtside at (Madison Square) Garden and the ref made a bad call.”
When asked what he would say to David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who is portrayed in his film, Lee simply took another sip.
When asked how he might have changed as a filmmaker since he made “Do the Right Thing,” or how he might have approached the same topic Monday, he said, “I do not answer hypotheticals. It was made when it was made. But the thing is, that film, I wrote it in ’88. I was talking about gentrification. In ’88 I was talking about global warming and that stuff. June 30, it will be the 30th anniversary of `Do the Right Thing,’ and all the stuff that was talked about in that film is still relevant today.”
About his latest film, Lee said that “whether we won the best picture or not, this film will stand the test of time being on the right side of history.”