Spike Lee said “the ref made bad call” when asked about Green Book’s best picture win at the Academy Awards.
Green Book, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, won ahead of a diverse field including Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Roma, Vice, A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody.
The film has been dogged by controversy and its handling of race has been criticised as belonging to the “white saviour” Hollywood trope.
When Julia Roberts read out Green Book as the winner, Lee was seen to leave his seat in what many interpreted as his way of showing his disapproval with the decision.
When asked about it backstage, Lee, drinking from a champagne flute, said he thought he was court side at Madison Square Garden and “the ref made a bad call”.
He had initially shouted “next question” when asked about his reaction. Lee won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, but missed out on best picture.
In 1990, Lee missed out on a nomination for his film Do The Right thing, a year when Driving Miss Daisy won best picture.
Lee said: “Every time someone is driving somewhere, I lose.” He added: “They changed the seating arrangement.”