The ‘Green Book’ white-savior Oscar win is the perfect Hollywood meme

Green Book’s Best Picture win at the Academy Awards last night led to a myriad of reactions, whether it was over producers unnecessarily dragging Carrie Fisher into their moment of glory or over the exhaustive list of controversies the movie has been mired in.

Probably the top criticism, though, was the film’s white-savior narrative and what it meant the Academy celebrated it. There were many Black-centered movies made by Black directors and producers that were worthy of a win—If Beale Street Could Talk, BlaKkKlansman, Black Panther. However, that the Academy voted for Green Book made it obvious that its members aren’t OK with just any kind of Black movie, but one where the focus is on a white hero.

The image that best encapsulated the film’s perspective was when its mostly white crew went to accept their award for a movie about living Black in Jim Crow’s America.

It eventually spiraled into a meme comparing Green Book to white allies who “don’t see color” and are all about Black rights as long as it’s convenient.

Green Book‘s Best Picture win especially felt like a slap in the face after many great Black talents took home prestigious awards, including Regina King for Best Supporting Actress and Spike Lee for Best Adapted Screenplay. Mahershala Ali, who played the role of pianist Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book, also won Best Supporting Actor. But that victory feels like an added wound given members of Dr. Shirley’s own family have repeatedly claimed he was misrepresented in the film.

READ MORE: 

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque