LOS ANGELES - Spike Lee, the famed director whose “BlacKkKlansman,” was up for the best picture award at the Oscars on Sunday night, appeared to try to storm out of the Dolby Theatre after it was announced that “Green Book" won the award.
Lee, a lifelong New York Knicks basketball fan, compared the "Green Book" win to a referee making "the wrong call."
In a stunning move shortly after "Green Book" was announced the winner, the director walked toward the back of the auditorium, according to a reporter for Deadline. He eventually got back to his seat and got into what appeared to be an intense conversation with the writer Jordan Peele. The report said that Lee turned his back to the stage during the speech.
Peele, who was sitting behind Lee, also declined to applaud the winner, as did others in the room.
“I’m snakebitten," Lee said while backstage. "I mean, every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose. But, they changed the seating arrangement. But, in ’89 I didn’t get nominated, so this one we did."
Lee's "Do the Right Thing" lost to "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1990. He told New York Magazine years later that "when Driving Miss Motherf—-ing Daisy won Best Picture, that hurt. [But] no one’s talking about "Driving Miss Daisy" now."
Lee said he had six glasses of champagne and attempted to make light of his reaction.
"Wait a minute, what reaction did you see? What did I do? No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden and the ref made a bad call. Courtside! The world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Knicks coming back next year."
“Green Book” stars Mahershala Ali as an African-American concert pianist in the 1960s and Viggo Mortensen as his driver. It won three Oscars on Sunday, including best supporting actor for Ali and best original screenplay.
Lee won earlier for best-adapted screenplay for his white supremacist drama "BlacKkKlansman." The crowd rose in a standing ovation, Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson and even the backstage press room burst into applause.
"Let's be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love and hate," said Lee, who was given an honorary Oscar in 2015. "Let's do the right thing! You knew I had to get that in there."
Fox News' Julius Young and the Associated Press contributed.