After Green Book topped Lee’s own BlackKklansman and several other deserving winners to claim Best Picture, the veteran director looked “visibly angry” and attempted to leave for the exit, according to The Associated Press. He was stopped by Oscar staffers, who escorted him back to the seat as Green Book producers gave their acceptance speech.
In a post-ceremony Q&A with reporters, Lee said he was “snakebit,” lamenting how “every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose.” (Lee’s masterwork Do the Right Thing was snubbed of any Oscars in 1990, whereas Driving Miss Daisy won multiple awards, including Best Picture.)
When asked specifically about his reaction to Green Book winning, Lee responded, “Next question!” He added, “I thought I was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call.”
“Whether we won Best Picture or not, this film will stand the test of time being on the right side of history,” Lee said to conclude his remarks.
Watch Lee’s full comments below. Prior to answering questions, Lee admitted he had had several glasses of champagne, which may have contributed to his spirited responses.
Lee did walk home with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, marking his first non-honorary Academy Award. In 2015, he received an Academy Honorary Award for his contribution to film.