Green Book was a bigger winner at Sunday night’s Oscars, taking home a golden statuette for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie.
But many on social media condemned the Best Picture win, including iconic director Spike Lee who reportedly joked backstage at the Oscars ceremony that “The ref made the wrong call.”
Now, the niece of Donald Shirley, the Black pianist depicted in Green Book, has added her voice to the chorus of critics by describing the celebration of the movie “a shame” and noted that director Peter Farrelly “took a jab” at her father during his acceptance speech.
“I wholeheartedly believe that Peter Farrelly took a jab at my father in his speech,” 47-year-old Karole tells the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview. “He said there’s this saying, ‘If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together. That is actually an African proverb that my father learned from my grandfather. My father has said it many times now publicly in the context of how this movie got there quickly because they did not consult anyone who was family.”
Shirley’s surviving brother, Maurice, 82, and his wife Patricia, 79, insist there was no friendship or brotherly love between the pianist and his overtly racist driver Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen in the film)
Karole said when her father learn about Farrelly’s remarks, “He is wearied by the whole thing. Both he and my mother said that for the movie to win was a ‘shame.”
“They both grew up coming out of Jim Crow and went through that awful time and fight for civil rights. So when they say something is a shame that’s saying something.”
Karole added, “For him to take a jab like that when they have never got in touch, never apologized….This man lacks character and honor. Oscars aside, I think he has sealed his fate with the lies he has told, the corners he has cut. That will be the benchmark of his career.”
Lee, reportedly compared the “Green Book” win to a referee making “the wrong call.”
spike lee leaving the place when they announced green book as the winner of best picture is what i need to keep living pic.twitter.com/ylR3xm2KfV
— 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑡 (@clubedaIuta) February 25, 2019
“Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose,” Lee added backstage. Lee was referring to his movie Do the Right Thing, his first Oscar-nominated film losing an Oscar to Driving Miss Daisy.
According to a reporter for Deadline, Lee came back to his seat after the thank you speeches and engaged in what appeared to be an intense conversation with Jordan Peele.
Lee however did take home an Oscar for Best adapted screenplay for his movie.
Shirley died in 2013.