Within moments of “Green Book” winning the Oscar for Best Picture, the Los Angeles Times published a story Sunday night by critic Justin Chang with the the headline: “‘Green Book’ is the worst best picture winner since ‘Crash.’”
Chang wasn’t the only critic happy to tell the world what he really thinks of “Green Book.”
“Remember that this is the same organization that gave its top honor to ‘Crash’ – so not surprising but still, f— it,” wrote the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis.
“Green Book” never had many fans in progressive circles. Though its fans saw it as an unlikely buddy dramedy with a message of hope, critics accused it of old-fashioned and even retrograde portrayals of racial dynamics at a time when American culture demands more complex and nuanced stories.
It also survived plenty of bad press in the week after it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, as well as other Globes. Old stories emerged of Peter Farrelly flashing his penis as a joke on the set of “Something About Mary” two decades ago, and screenwriter Nick Vallelonga apologized for an old tweet agreeing that Muslims had celebrated in New Jersey after 9/11.
Oscar voters looked past the criticisms, giving the film not only Best Picture, but also giving Best Supporting Actor to Ali and Best Original Screenplay to Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Farrelly.
The wins earned instant comparisons to past Oscars for “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Crash,” other films accused of outdated racial attitudes.
Dargis’ newspaper tweeted out last year’s review by critic A.O. Scott, which referred to “Green Book” as “a Road Trip Through a Land of Racial Clichés.”
“Every suspicion you might entertain — that this will be a sentimental tale of prejudices overcome and common humanity affirmed; that its politics will be as gently middle-of-the-road as its humor; that it will invite a measure of self-congratulation about how far we, as a nation, have come — will be confirmed,” he wrote.
In his post Sunday night, Chang wrote that “Green Book” is “insultingly glib and hucksterish, a self-satisfied crock masquerading as an olive branch.”
Calling it “an embarrassment,” he added: “It reduces the long, barbaric and ongoing history of American racism to a problem, a formula, a dramatic equation that can be balanced and solved.”
“Just gonna leave this here,” The Huffington Post tweeted. “This” was a piece entitled “‘Green Book’ Is As Disappointing As It Is Tone-Deaf On Race.”