MovieChat Forums > Green Book (2018) Discussion > Green Book is the Worst Best Picture win...

Green Book is the Worst Best Picture winner since Crash


https://www.datalounge.com/thread/23239326

Like that 2005 movie, Peter Farrelly’s interracial buddy dramedy is insultingly glib and hucksterish, a self-satisfied crock masquerading as an olive branch. It reduces the long, barbaric and ongoing history of American racism to a problem, a formula, a dramatic equation that can be balanced and solved. “Green Book” is an embarrassment; the film industry’s unquestioning embrace of it is another.

The differences between the two movies are as telling as the similarities. “Crash,” a modern-day screamfest that racked up cross-cultural tensions by the minute, meant to leave you angry and wrung-out. Its Oscar triumph was a genuine shocker; it clearly had its fans, but for many its inferiority was self-evident.

“Green Book,” a slick crowd-pleaser set in the Deep South in 1962, strains to put you in a good mood. Its victory is appalling but far from shocking: From the moment it won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, the first of several key precursors it would pick up en route to Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, the movie was clearly a much more palatable brand of godawful.

In telling the story of the brilliant, erudite jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who is chauffeured on his Southern concert tour by a rough-edged Italian-American bouncer named Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), “Green Book” serves up bald-faced clichés and stereotypes with a drollery that almost qualifies as disarming.

Mortensen and Ali, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor, are superb performers with smooth timing and undeniable chemistry. The movie wades into the muck and mire of white supremacy, cracks a few wince-worthy jokes, gasps in horror at a black man’s abuse and humiliation (all while maintaining a safe, tasteful distance from it), then digs up a nugget of uplift to send you home with, a little token of virtue to go with that smile on your face.

I can tell I’ve already annoyed some of you, though if you take more offense at what I’ve written than you do at “Green Book,” there may not be much more to say. Differences in taste are nothing new, but there is something about the anger and defensiveness provoked by this particular picture that makes reasonable disagreement unusually difficult. Maybe “Green Book” really is the movie of the year after all — not the best movie, but the one that best captures the polarization that arises whenever the conversation shifts toward matters of race, privilege and the all-important question of who gets to tell whose story.

I’ll concede this much to “Green Book’s” admirers: They understandably love this movie’s sturdy craft, its feel-good storytelling and its charmingly synched lead performances. They appreciate its ostensibly hard-hitting portrait of the segregated South (as noted by U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis, who presented a montage to the film on Oscar night) and find its plea for mutual understanding both laudable and heartwarming. I know I speak for some of the movie’s detractors when I say I find that plea both dishonest and dispiritingly retrograde, a shopworn ideal of racial reconciliation propped up by a story that unfolds almost entirely from a white protagonist’s incurious perspective.

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I think crash had some good scenes that made me think. This didn't.

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Absolutley. Only because it got best picture award in 2005 and not brokeback everybody is bashing Crash.
Crash is a decent film. Well written and executed. I would rather compare the greenbook win to Moonlight win 2 years ago...

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Really?
With the total crap they give awards to at the oscar, you think you can single this one harmless movie out as "the worse since"?
Take a look and vomit:
2018 - "The Shape of Water"
2017 - "Moonlight"
2016 - "Spotlight"
2015 - "Birdman"
2014 - "12 Years a Slave"
2013 - "Argo"
2012 - "The Artist"
2011 - "The King's Speech"
2010 - "The Hurt Locker"
2009 - "Slumdog Millionaire"
2008 - "No Country for Old Men"
2007 - "The Departed"
If you want to move even further down this list of average movies, have fun, but don't be ridicolous with these kind of claims: the oscars are NOT a good meter for quality.

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Definitely the weakest since Argo imo.

The Only ones deserving of it for me personally were No Country For Old Men and 12 Years A Slave. Moonlight I think is a masterpiece. Birdman I wouldn't complain too much about. Spotlight I really like that film but The Revenant was the better film that year.

The Departed is a good film but Scorcese should have won for films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or Goodfellas. For me it felt like a lifetime Oscar rather for the best film. Slumdog isn't even Danny Boyle's best film, wouldn't even have it in his top 5. The Hurt Locker was a weak year as well. The King's Speech is Oscar fodder.


With Green Book, it's definitely one of the weakest. Roma and The Favorite are better films imo. But that's the Oscars for you. We could have a discussion for the ages picking apart their Best Picture winners.

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Yes, I agree with what you said, except for Moonlight which is a very bland, sub average film in my book.
I might have missed something but I thought it was barely watchable.

Anyway, I would say that, if anything, if you know your film history, you can deduce that the "oscar for best picture" is a mark of what is NOT the best movie of that year, it's almost mathematically accurate!

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@Heisenberg. When I did the exercise a few years ago of compiling my (very standard) best films for each year I got only 9 overlaps with Oscars Best Picture: Sunrise, All Quiet On The Western Front, It Happened One Night, Casablanca, Godfather, Annie Hall, Amadeus, Unforgiven, No Country for Old Men. Cannes' Palme d'Or only overlapped with me 6 times: Third Man, Blow-Up, Taxi Driver, All That Jazz, Pulp Fiction, Amour.

When I dug into critics groups' selections over time, they didn't do much better. It turns out that posterity is hard to guess.

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Ahahah, that's crazy!
I should try that exercise too.
I wonder who cares about these film awards any more nowadays other than Hollywood.

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What about BAFTAS or GLOBES any better?

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People do go on..
I actually liked Crash..sorry..I think it did show the truth that in times of crisis people aren't always who they (and we) think they are and sometimes other things emerge. There is truth in that..
It wasn't just about how we all stereotype others but how we stereotype ourselves.

And Green Book is given too much credit. It's just a film about 2 very different people finding common ground. Nothing should be so insulting about that.. It wasn't trying to save the world.
How do films showing the opposite achieve more?

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I like Crash too.

It's very well-acted, and it goes to show how complex people can be.

In fact, I think that's why so many people hate it. They hate that the racist cop turned how to be a hero, and they hate that the white liberals turned out to be hypocritical racists. It simply doesn't compute with their solopsistic self-regarding view of the world.

It stands to reason that David Cross, the comic actor, named it one of his most hated films in an interview, since he's a self-identifying liberal who was later exposed for acting like a racist towards a Chinese-American woman.

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Exactly..
I know when I see people hating on it they may just hate to admit certain truths it exposes..But I think it does that very well.
When I first saw it I was still pretty much a full fledged liberal but any real truth doesn't rub me the wrong way.
I guess in today's black and white environment there is no longer room for different thoughts.

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Yes, since the 90s and 00s society seems to have regressed. We're no longer committed as a society to equality. I think the 2008 global economic crash has made people more anxious and more inclined to a zero sum game, take everything for myself rather than share, view of the world.

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The number of ulcers in the United States will reduce significantly when Americans learn obsessing over "race" does nothing for progress.

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Agreed.

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I thought it was great and was hoping it would get the Oscar ... but honestly I couldn't care less.

I don't think people still get how badly blacks have been treated, or that those that have been pushed over the edge are there for a reason.

The message we all have to learn to respect each other and live together is never bad.

Some black people always have to take the soapbox to try to get attention to explain just how complicated and wrong any movie on race is, but that is just it, a bid for attention.

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I think it won because it was not a netflix movie and the academy wont give pest picture awards to netflix movies...

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And neither should they unless Netflix allow for a larger window between big screen release and broadcast on their own service.

Who will pay ten dollars or more to see a film they can watch for free at home?

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I found in there a new word variant that I love: "drollery"!!!

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It should have been Roma, but it was obvious from the start that the Academy wouldnt give the award to a Netflix movie.

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