The 91st Academy Awards telecast was already shaping up to be one of the most controversial in Oscars history with the many nominations collected by Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody. Seeing as how many of these nominations were transformed into wins, however, it seems the general reception to the night has soured significantly. This was especially the case when Green Book took the Oscar for Best Picture at the end of the ceremony, at which point the film’s producers delivered an increasingly weird acceptance speech.
Director and co-writer Peter Farrelly had previously dominated the microphone when he and the writing team took home the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, so executive producer Jim Burke started things off with an explainer. “We made this film with love. We made it with tenderness. We made it with respect,” he said. Farrelly then jumped in to add, “The whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other despite our differences and finding the truth about who we are. We’re the same people.”
If audiences felt that Burke and Farrelly’s insistence on Green Book‘s being all about love and racial equality was an indirect response to much of the criticism they have received, they weren’t alone. It is a feel-good movie, in many ways, but many have taken issue with how the filmmakers decided to re-tell the story of Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). This includes the family of the real-life Shirley.
All of this notwithstanding, executive producer Charles B. Wessler briefly took to the microphone (right when it was cut off for theater attendees) to thank the late Carrie Fisher. The two had worked together on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but since most people watching at home probably didn’t know this, it was definitely a weird way to end things on Sunday night.
And then there was this, apparently.