Spike Lee was reportedly visibly upset and even tried to leave the Oscars ceremony after Green Book was named Best Picture.
According to Variety, the BlacKkKlansman director, 61, was seen waving his arms in disgust, and tried to leave the Dolby Theater when presenter Julia Roberts announced that the controversy-hit film had won.
However, he was stopped at the doors and forced to return to his seat once the speeches had stopped.
The film – based on the true story of celebrated pianist Dr. Don Shirley’s friendship with his driver, Tony Vallelonga – has been extensively criticized for its overly simplistic treatment of racial issues.
Lee, who earlier that evening won his first-ever Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, explained to reporters backstage that he was disappointed by Green Book’s success, and said “the ref made a bad call”.
“I’m snakebit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” he added, in reference to his breakout film Do the Right Thing losing the Oscar for Best Screenplay to Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.
“I thought I was court side at the (Madison Square) Garden and the refs made a bad call,” Lee fired.
He had initially shouted “next question” when asked about his reaction to Green Book’s victory, and quipped, “This is my sixth glass, and you know why,” while holding his champagne flute aloft.
Later, chatting to reporters at the Vanity Fair after-party, Lee said: “Are you British? Let me give you a British answer – it wasn’t my cup of tea.”
According to Variety, Get Out filmmaker and comedian Jordan Peele was among the other stars who didn’t applaud Green Book’s win.
Mahershala Ali scooped the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his portrayal of Dr. Shirley. But Dr. Shirley’s nephew, Edwin Shirley III, and brother, Maurice Shirley, have openly criticized the film and called its portrayal of the musician “a symphony of lies”.