Spike Lee on Green Book's Best Picture win: The ref made a bad call

Spike Lee said "the ref made bad call" when asked about Green Book's best picture win at the Academy Awards.

Green Book, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, won ahead of a diverse field including Lee's BlacKkKlansman, Roma, Vice, A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody.

The film has been dogged by controversy and its handling of race has been criticised as belonging to the "white saviour" Hollywood trope.

When Julia Roberts read out Green Book as the winner, Lee was seen to leave his seat in what many interpreted as his way of showing his disapproval with the decision.

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THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) ANDREW WYATT, ANTHONY ROSSOMANDO, LADY GAGA, MARK RONSON
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) RAMI MALEK, OLIVIA COLMAN, REGINA KING, MAHERSHALA ALI
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Rami Malek accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Alfonso Cuaron accepts the Best Director award for 'Roma' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
91st Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2019. Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly accept the Best Original Screenplay award for “Green Book”. REUTERS/Mike Blake
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: (L-R) Lucy Boynton and Rami Malek during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) REGINA KING
Melissa McCarthy, left, and Brian Tyree Henry present the award for best costume design at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Charlie Wachtel, left, and Spike Lee accept the award for best adapted screenplay for "BlacKkKlansman" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Craig Sjodin via Getty Images) JAKE JOHNSON, PHIL LORD, BOB PERSICHETTI, PETER RAMSEY
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Lady Gaga during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Lady Gaga during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Ed Herrera via Getty Images) PETER FARRELLY, BRIAN CURRIE, NICK VALLELONGA
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Ed Herrera via Getty Images) LADY GAGA, BRADLEY COOPER
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: (L - 3rd from R) Jaime Ray Newman and Guy Nattiv accept the Best Live Action Short Film award for 'Skin' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: (L-R) Lucy Boynton and Rami Malek during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Jaime Ray Newman accepts the Best Live Action Short Film award for 'Skin' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: (2nd L - R) Jaime Ray Newman and Guy Nattiv accept the Best Live Action Short Film award for 'Skin' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: (2nd L - R) Jaime Ray Newman and Guy Nattiv accept the Best Live Action Short Film award for 'Skin' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
John Ottman with the award for Film Editing for Bohemian Rhapsody in the press room at the 91st Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA.
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) ELIZABETH CHAI VASARHELYI, JIMMY CHIN, EVAN HAYES, SHANNON DILL
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The cast and crew of Green Book on stage for Best Picture. Photo: Getty
91st Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2019. Director Peter Farrelly speaks on stage after "Green Book" won the Best Picture award. REUTERS/Mike Blake
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Craig Sjodin via Getty Images) RAMI MALEK
THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® broadcasts live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on The ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. (Craig Sjodin via Getty Images) OLIVIA COLMAN
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91st Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2019. Spike Lee celebrates onstage with Samuel L. Jackson as he receives the Best Adapted Screenplay award for “BlacKkKlansman”. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Kendall Jenner (L) and Caitlyn Jenner attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
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When asked about it backstage, Lee, drinking from a champagne flute, said he thought he was court side at Madison Square Garden and "the ref made a bad call".

He had initially shouted "next question" when asked about his reaction. Lee won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, but missed out on best picture.

In 1990, Lee missed out on a nomination for his film Do The Right thing, a year when Driving Miss Daisy won best picture.

Lee said: "Every time someone is driving somewhere, I lose." He added: "They changed the seating arrangement."

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