“Green Book” took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards Sunday night, in a controversial win for a movie that has been called a white savior narrative and been accused of stretching the facts of the true story on which it is based. Accepting the award were Nick Vallelonga, producer Brian Currie, and director Peter Farrelly. Vallelonga is the son of Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, whose story the film dramatizes.
“They say if you wanna go somewhere fast, go alone, if you wanna go far, go together,” Farrelly said accepting the award. “Dad, we did it,” added Vallelonga.
Set during a music tour through the Jim Crow era South, “Green Book” charts the friendship between African-American classical pianist Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his Italian-American driver, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen). Despite their considerable differences, the two men find common ground in their love of music and a shared self-reliance, learning something about each other in the process. Fans of the film describe it as a reverse “Driving Miss Daisy.”
“Green Book” received a total of five Oscar nominations, including a shot at Best Picture and acting nods for Ali and Mortensen. This year marked the first nominations and now wins for Vallelonga, Currie, and Farrelly.
“Green Book” faced stiff competition on its road to a writing Oscar; other nominated screenwriters include Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for “The Favourite,” Paul Schrader for “First Reformed,” Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma,” and Adam McKay for “Vice.”
Ahead of Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, the NAACP came out against the film, claiming that it promotes a harmful “white savior” narrative and calling the film a “setback” when it comes to depicting nuanced black characters in film.
The 91st Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 25. The host-less show aired on ABC, and was also live-streamed by the network.