Do you remember the Oscar campaign around Moonlight in early 2017? I do. I remember wanting Mahershala Ali to win every Best Supporting Actor award for his tender, moving, star-making performance. I threatened to burn the place down if he didn’t win. And he won a lot of stuff, including a SAG Award and an Oscar. It was emotional and important for him to win stuff back then. This awards season, there’s not the same feeling. But if anything, Mahershala is winning more consistently this year for his performance in Green Book. As I’ve said many times, I think Green Book is bad and problematic, but if Mahershala is the only one winning from the film, I’m fine with that. He does the most with his role.
What’s interesting is that I don’t think Mahershala came into this awards season believing that he was going to sweep. I think he’s sort of embarrassed that this is happening for a film which has so many problems. At last night’s Critics Choice Awards, he didn’t even walk the red carpet, and when he won, he brought up his stand-in to thank him personally and use the guy as a shield, basically, or a convenient prop so Mahershala wouldn’t have to thank many of the people from the film. That’s probably because the screenwriter (and son of the real-life Tony Lip, played by Viggo Mortensen) Nick Vallelonga just had to issue a formal apology for tweeting at and agreeing with Donald Trump’s lies about Muslims. Mahershala is Muslim.
Nick Vallelonga, the screenwriter of the new film “Green Book,” apologized Thursday for a 2015 anti-Muslim tweet that recently resurfaced.
“I want to apologize. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with ‘Green Book’,” he said in a statement. “I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused. I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. ‘Green Book’ is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”
A commenter said, last week, that Mahershala has had to eat so much sh-t during this promotional tour and awards season, and it’s so true. The white guys involved in Green Book are drowning in mess, but Mahershala is trying to stay above the fray. And what’s weird is that he’s being rewarded for it. Oh well… if it gets him another Oscar, I’m fine with it.
Photos courtesy of Getty.