The problem with Green Book: the 2019 Best Picture winner

Photo via CC0 Public Domain

By: Hugh Brown

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- The 2019 Academy Awards was not exactly the train-wreck people were expecting it to be. Not having a host made the pacing smooth and the show cut down on the usual awkwardness that is normally present. The only glaring issue was with the Best Picture winner: “Green Book.”

“Green Book” is the very definition of “Oscar bait” or films produced seemingly with a checklist just to win Academy Awards. A film about a white man driving a black man around in the southern United States in the 1960s, “Green Book” is a great example of a “white savior” film, or a film where a white man defends a black man from fellow white men. The movie is very “problematic” for a number of reasons. It also received mediocre reviews from critics. The film wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the best of the year.

The problem with “Green Book” winning best picture is not simply because it was far from the best film of the year, it’s the Academy’s ongoing quest to seem more accepting of diverse films and themes. The Academy is historically caucasian and male and largely only awards films about caucasian males. The “Green Book” win combined with “Black Panther” being nominated for best picture seems like a desperate plea from the Academy to seem fair and cultured.

In picking an Oscar-baiting, wannabe culturally woke film for best picture, the Academy exposed itself even further for what it really is: an industry awards event run by old white men. Most people already knew this but it’s important to not forget, as many have. The Oscars do not declare what movies are truly the best. On top of that, the Academy is an incredibly flawed organization. The decline in ratings for a three hour long award show is a promising sign.

“Green Book” is not a great film and in choosing it for best picture, the Academy fell for an unintentional trap. They proved (once again) that they can’t read between the lines for films baiting them into a best picture award. Hopefully in the future, the Oscars will be seen for what they really are.

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