by Anne DeLello ’20 A&E Staff
At this year’s Oscars there was one standout movie that won in three categories. The categories were Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture, and the movie was Green Book.
Green Book tells the story of Don Shirley, an African-American pianist who travels to the deep south to perform music in 1962, during the height of segregation. Shirley enlists Tony Lip, a white Italian man from the Bronx, to drive him on this tour and serve as a bodyguard of sorts. The two men develop an unlikely friendship on their drive through the south, facing racism head on with a comic twist.
The movie was named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guidebook used by African American travelers in the south during the Jim Crow era. Truth marries comedy in Green Book, which Vulture describes as a “fact-based, feel-good film” as the film touches on issues of racism in the deep south while remaining witty.
Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Don Shirley. This is not his first major acting role, as Ali was on House of Cards for four seasons, and he won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for portraying Juan in the film Moonlight. After his role in Green Book, Ali went on to shoot for the HBO original, True Detective. However, following his Oscar win for Green Book, Ali told The Guardian that he will not be accepting new roles for the time being, claiming that, “You get to the point where you think: ‘If I were to accept the next thing I’d be throwing off the balance of my family.’” Even though Ali may not be returning to the big screen for a while, he has left his mark with Green Book.
Another award-winner for Green Book was Peter Farrelly ’79 who co-wrote and directed the film. Farrelly accepted the award for Best Original Screenplay as well as the award for Best Picture. Farrelly even gave Rhode Island a shout-out in his acceptance speech.
Farrelly has traditionally stuck to directing raunchy comedies, so this step into the world of drama was a change for him. It was also the first movie that he did not co-direct with his brother, Bobby Farrelly, with whom he directed movies such as Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself & Irene, and There’s Something About Mary. His success with Green Book, and these Oscars, opens a new door for Farrelly as he moves on in his career.
The film received rave reviews before it won the Oscars. It was initially very well received at the Toronto Film Festival in September. The film has also received consistently high Rotten Tomatoes ratings since its release in November and currently has a 93 percent approval rating.
The film was successful before it won three Oscars, and these Oscar wins have only solidified the fact that Green Book will be enjoyed by many for years to come.