Spike Lee Explains His Angry Reaction to Green Book's Win: 'I Thought the Ref Made a Bad Call'
The first-time Oscar winner reportedly stormed out of the room after Green Book was announced as the winner of the final award of the night
Spike Lee is not holding back on his thoughts about Sunday’s Best Picture winner.
After Green Book picked up the Best Picture trophy during the final award of the 2019 Academy Awards in which his film was also nominated, Lee was far from thrilled for the true-life drama and immediately let his anger show.
The BlacKkKlansman director, 61, was then seen “intensely” speaking to Jordan Peele.
Later in the evening, after Lee’s biographical crime comedy-drama won Best Adapted Screenplay, the director spoke to a room of reporters and revealed what was actually going through his mind after Green Book‘s win.
“Let me take another sip! [sips champagne] Next question! What did I do?” he sarcastically joked, as he danced in a circle with his glass, before expressing why he felt like the decision was a “bad call.”
“No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden, and the ref made a bad call. Courtside,” the die-hard New York basketball team fan said. “The world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Knicks coming back next year.”
When asked if winning Best Adapted Screenplay made up for his loss at the 1990 Oscars — his film Do the Right Thing lost for Best Picture that year to Driving Miss Daisy — Lee quipped, “Every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose!”
“They changed the seating arrangement! But in ’89 I didn’t get nominated. So, this one we did.”
Reps for Lee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Oscars coverage to get the latest news on film’s biggest night.
Lee’s outrage over the win comes after months of debate dissension surrounding Green Book.
The film centers on Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class African-American pianist who embarked on a concert tour of the Deep South in 1962 along with his driver and bodyguard, Tony Lip (played by Viggo Mortensen).
Mortensen, 60, used the n-word during the movie’s press tour. Months after he apologized, director Pete Farrelly apologized for having exposed himself years ago while on the set of his 1998 romantic comedy There’s Something About Mary.
Dr. Shirley’s family also criticized the movie, with his brother Maurice calling it a “symphony of lies.”
Though Lee may not have been happy with at least one category winner during the evening, he couldn’t contain his smile when he became an Oscar winner for the first time.
After leaping into presenter Samuel L. Jackson‘s arms, Lee took the stage to accept the award for BlacKkKlansman. Though the beginning of his speech was bleeped, he reportedly opened by saying, “Do not turn that motherf—ing clock on,” according to New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan.
In his speech, Lee paid tribute to Black History Month and shared some of his family’s own stories of triumphant in the face of oppression.
The iconic director celebrated the sacrifice his grandmother made for him, revealing she “saved 50 years of social security checks” to put him through Morehouse College and NYU graduate film school. (She also affectionately nicknamed him “Spikey-poo.”)
Lee ended his speech on a political note.
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner,” he said. “Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
His sentiment was a call to action and also referenced Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. The film examined race relations in a Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood and the tragic consequences of letting hate and racism go unchecked.
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BlacKkKlansman‘s script was based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth and follows his story as the first African American detective in the Colorado Springs police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose a local chapter of the KKK.
John David Washington stars as Stallworth, while Adam Driver, Laura Harrier and Topher Grace also feature in the film.
The script beat out fellow nominees The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born and Can You Ever Forgive Me?