Oscars: Green Book wins top award, Alfonso Cuaron best director

Peter Farrelly’s civil rights movie wins Oscars gold while Mexican filmmaker Cuaron named best director for Roma.

91st Academy Awards - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US, February 24, 2019. Peter Farrelly accepts the Best Picture award for Green Book [REUTERS/Mike Blake]
91st Academy Awards - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US, February 24, 2019. Peter Farrelly accepts the Best Picture award for Green Book [REUTERS/Mike Blake]

Green Book, the tale of a celebrated black pianist who befriends his white driver as they tour the segregated American South in the 1960s, has overcome controversy to win Oscars gold.

The critically acclaimed film on Sunday secured the coveted Best Picture Oscar to wrap up the Academy Awards – a bit of an upset over Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which had been the heavy favourite.

The top prize was the third statuette of the night for Green Book, which earned a total of five nominations.

Mahershala Ali won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of pianist Don Shirley, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with driver Tony “Lip” Vallelonga – Best Actor nominee Viggo Mortensen.

The film also won for Best Original Screenplay.

“The whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other, despite our differences, and finding out the truth about who we are – we’re the same people,” said director Peter Farrelly.

Mahershala Ali accepts the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Green Book [Mike Blake/Reuters]

Green Book beat seven other films for top honours: Roma, superhero flick Black Panther, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, offbeat royal romp The Favourite, musical romance A Star Is Born, and Dick Cheney biopic Vice.


Cuaron won the Best Director Oscar for Roma, which also won awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography.

In his acceptance speech, Cuaron paid tribute to the 70 million domestic workers around the world and to indigenous women in his acceptance speech.

“I want to thank the Academy for recognising a film centred around an indigenous woman,” he said.

“A character that has historically been relegated to the background of cinema.”

Alfonso Cuaron speaks on stage after accepting the Best Director award for Roma [Mike Blake/Reuters]
Olivia Colman accepts the Best Actress award for her role in The Favourite [Mike Blake/Reuters]

In an upset, Britain’s Olivia Colman won the Best Actress Oscar for The Favourite, beating presumed frontrunner Glenn Close, who starred in The Wife.

“Glenn Close – you have been my idol for so long, and this is not how I wanted it to be,” a delighted but shocked Colman told her fellow actress, sitting in the audience.

Rami Malek won for his role as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in 21st Century Fox musical Bohemian Rhapsody. The film won three other Academy Awards.

“I may not have been the obvious choice, but I guess it worked out,” said Malek, who had been favoured to win the award.

Regina King won her first Oscar for her supporting role as a mother fighting for justice in If Beale Street Could Talk.

BlacKkKlansman meanwhile won the Best Adapted Screenplay award, delivering Spike Lee his first competitive Oscar.

Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor award for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody [Mike Blake/Reuters]
Regina King poses backstage with her Best Supporting Actress award for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk [Mike Segar/Reuters]
Spike Lee (left) embraces Samuel L Jackson after winning the Best Adapted Screenplay award for BlacKkKlansman [Mike Blake/Reuters]

‘White saviour movie’

Green Book – co-written by Vallelonga’s son, Nick – explores race relations and identity as Shirley embarks on the tour and is forced to rely on his initially racist, ill-mannered Italian-American driver.

The feel-good movie is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guidebook that provided African Americans advice on safe places to eat and sleep while travelling during segregation.

It racked up a number of accolades in the run-up to the Oscars, including a best musical/comedy film award at the Golden Globes and the top prize from the Producers Guild of America.

But while the film has proven a crowd-pleaser, it has been embroiled in controversy since its premiere.

Peter Farrelly accepts the Best Picture award for Green Book [Mike Blake/Reuters]

Shirley’s relatives, including his brother, have objected to the storyline, saying they were never consulted and have denounced the film as a “symphony of lies”.

Shirley’s niece, Carol Shirley Kimble, blasted the movie as a “depiction of a white man’s version of a black man’s life.”

The film also became part of a wider debate in the United States about race, with many describing it as yet another “white saviour movie” told through the lens of its white protagonist.

“The Green Book is a black story, and for a white man to steal that legacy and name for a film that has little or nothing to do with The Green Book is unacceptable,” Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams said in a Facebook post.

“We have always had our stories and our history stolen from us and told through the lens of whiteness and this film is Hollywood’s latest example.”

Vallelonga has defended his work, saying it was based on stories his father told him about the tour. He also says Shirley advised him before his death not to speak to anyone else about his project.

“We were aware of the certain tropes, like the white savior trope – the white guy saves the black guy — as well as the black savior trope – the black guy saves the white guy,” Farrelly told Newsweek in November.

“We were careful not to make this film either of those.”

Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga had both attracted negative headlines themselves – the director for an apparent dirty practical joke he used to pull on sets, and Vallelonga for an anti-Muslim tweet. Both later apologised.


Best Picture

Black Panther


Bohemian Rhapsody 

The Favourite 

Green Book – WINNER


A Star Is Born 


Best Director

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee 

Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski 

The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos 

Roma, Alfonso Cuaron – WINNER 

Vice, Adam McKay

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma 

Glenn Close, The Wife 

Olivia Colman, The Favourite – WINNER 

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born 

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale, Vice 

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born 

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate 

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER 

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Rami Malek becomes the first Arab-American to win an Oscar for Best Actor [Kevork Djansezian/AFP]

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams, Vice 

Marina de Tavira, Roma 

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk – WINNER 

Emma Stone, The Favourite 

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, Green Book – WINNER 

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman 

Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born 

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? 

Sam Rockwell, Vice

Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara 

First Reformed, Paul Schrader 

Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly – WINNER 

Roma, Alfonso Cuaron 

Vice, Adam McKay

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen 

BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee – WINNER 

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty 

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins 

A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters

Best Cinematography

Cold War, Lukasz Zal 

The Favourite, Robbie Ryan 

Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel 

Roma, Alfonso Cuaron – WINNER 

A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Alfonso Cuaron of Mexico won three awards for ‘Roma’ [Mike Segar/Reuters]

Best Makeup and Hairstyling


Mary Queen of Scots 


Best Documentary Feature

Free Solo – WINNER 

Hale County This Morning, This Evening 

Minding the Gap 

Of Fathers and Sons 


Best Costume Design

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs 

Black Panther – WINNER 

The Favourite 

Mary Poppins Returns 

Mary Queen of Scots

Best Film Editing


Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER 

The Favourite 

Green Book 


Best Production Design

Black Panther – WINNER 

The Favourite 

First Man 

Mary Poppins Returns 


Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart celebrate backstage with their Best Production Design awards for ‘Black Panther’ [Mike Segar/Reuters]

Best Sound Editing

Black Panther 

Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER 

First Man 

A Quiet Place 


Best Sound Mixing

Black Panther 

Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER 

First Man 


A Star Is Born

Best Foreign Language Film

Capernaum, Lebanon 

Cold War, Poland 

Never Look Away, Germany 

Roma, Mexico – WINNER 

Shoplifters, Japan

Best Animated Feature

Incredibles 2 

Isle of Dogs 


Ralph Breaks the Internet 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – WINNER

Best Live Action Short






Best Animated Short Film

Animal Behavior 


Late Afternoon 

One Small Step 


Best Documentary Short

Black Sheep 

End Game 


A Night at the Garden 

Period. End of Sentence. – WINNER

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War 

Christopher Robin 

First Man – WINNER 

Ready Player One 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Best Original Score

Black Panther – WINNER 


If Beale Street Could Talk 

Isle of Dogs 

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Original Song

“All the Stars,” Black Panther 

“I’ll Fight,” RBG 

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns 

“Shallow,” A Star Is Born – WINNER 

“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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