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Criticism of ‘Green Book’s’ Oscar win by The Times’ Justin Chang sparks strong reader reaction

Criticism of ‘Green Book’s’ Oscar win by The Times’ Justin Chang sparks strong reader reaction
"Green Book" director Peter Farrelly

Is ‘Green Book’ the best picture?

Regarding “Why This Is So Not Best Picture” [Feb. 25]:

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Just as Justin Chang said I would, I take offense at his review of the best picture Oscar winner, “Green Book.” “Reasonable disagreement”? No, it was a hatchet job; the film was great.

Mindy Taylor-Ross, Venice

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I find this “Green Book” backlash ridiculous. This is a film about two men, opposites, who through a dangerous journey found friendship and grew to have each other’s backs. They changed each other’s lives on countless levels. Don Shirley, in this film, did not “take any back seat” to Tony Lip or anybody. He established the boundaries of their journey ... period. Both men evolved because of this rich relationship.

Bob Garrett, Studio City

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Justin Chang’s diatribe, and Kenneth Turan’s more measured view [“Crowd-Pleasers Capture the Votes,” Feb. 25], that “Green Book” did not deserve the best picture award exemplifies all that is wrong with Hollywood movie critics: Stop telling us (and Academy voters) what to like or not like.

The old “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” holds true. Maybe it’s best to just leave it at that.

Rick Solomon, Lake Balboa

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I was so happy that “Green Book” won best picture. Justin Chang’s negative response to the win was a real bummer.

Martin Towery, Cypress

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I would hazard to say that most Americans have never heard of the actual “Green Book” that black motorists needed to ensure their safety during car trips in the Southern states from 1935-1965. It is still shocking to witness the racist treatment of Don Shirley during his concert tour, a mere 100 years after the Civil War. The film was hard-hitting enough for Rep. John R. Lewis, Harry Belafonte and Octavia Spencer.

Ben Nethercot, Topanga

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In my opinion, “Green Book” is a great movie that deserved its best picture Oscar. I simply don’t care that it didn’t pass muster with jaded movie critics, whose rigid thinking and preconceived prejudices allow them to dismiss the nuances of the complex relationship that evolved in the movie between Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga.

Michael Armstrong, Hawthorne

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If I had a vote for best picture it would have been for “Black Panther,” a powerful, celebratory and beautiful movie. That was not chosen as best picture, but instead “Green Book,” which is a cliché-ridden, sticky-sweet story presented from the savior, white driver’s perspective. What I did take away from the best picture winner is knowledge about a genius musician, composer and pianist, Donald Shirley. He should be known to all Americans.

Jane Cashell, Irvine

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Justin Chang has written the most important words this award season regarding the film “Green Book” when he asks, “Who gets to tell whose story?” Why is Don Shirley’s story told from a white protagonist’s point of view? What a shame and what a lost opportunity to help people like me gain maybe a glimmer of understanding about the truth of Don Shirley’s experience.

Mary Scott, Northridge

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I think Justin Chang, like many movie critics, forgets why people go to the movies in the first place. In this day and age of 24/7 news coverage and social media, not always reassuring and positive, we go to the movies to forget our cares and worries, and to be entertained. We don’t dissect the film and pick out what the movie got wrong, but rather what it got right!

Alba Farfaglia, San Clemente

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I was glad Justin Chang had the character to write why the best picture Oscar for “Green Book” was wrongheaded. But he seems to think movies should be morally and socially pure.

Can we discuss Olivia Colman in “The Favourite”? After watching that movie, my thought was if England can survive a Queen Anne, perhaps the U.S. can survive a Trump presidency.

Christine Gregory, Beverly Hills

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It took a while, but Justin Chang eventually managed to blame Trump for “Green Book” being awarded best movie.

Wim Scholten, Culver City

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If Justin Chang believes another movie should have won the best picture Oscar, that’s fine. Was it necessary to accuse those of us who like “Green Book” of Trumpian anti-intellectualism?

Must we also loathe such films as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Glory” because of the sin of a white perspective?

Bruce Janger, Santa Monica

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As an African American, I was offended by the presumption that only black audiences can take the moral high road on matters of race. Really? Folly, arrogance and cruelty come in all colors. Don’t tell us what is white and what is black.

Sidney Morrison, Los Angeles

Host behind the curtain

Who says there was no host at the Oscars? No doubt sitting alone in a booth away from the action for her 10th year was the splendid announcer Randy Thomas.

She was perfect and should receive her own award.

Harvey Kern, Los Angeles

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Looking for Jussie Smollett balance

Mary McNamara’s article about Jussie Smollett and the ensuing national conversation about hate crimes [“What Jussie Says About Us,” Feb. 23] was surprisingly well-balanced. As a reader who usually disagrees with her, I was pleased.

However, McNamara couldn’t quite get through her column without some obligatory Trump bashing. She opined: “Hate crimes happen. But wearing a MAGA hat is not a crime, and people do so for a variety of reasons just like people wear Che Guevara T-shirts for a variety of reasons.”

If that analogy is acceptable, how about this: “People put Bernie Sanders bumper stickers on their vehicles for a variety of reasons, just like people put pictures of Hitler on their bedroom walls for a variety of reasons.”

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I don’t think that would sit too well with Bernie’s supporters.

Ken Grow, Newbury Park

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Mary McNamara targeted a problem that has become rampant in our society. Say or write the story now, and check its accuracy later. More and more stories seem to be tried in the media without the benefit of due process. How has this happened to a society that values a free press?

Libby J. Atwater, Ventura

Melissa Berton, center left, and Rayka Zehtabchi, center right, accept the Short Film (Live Action) award for Period. End Of Sentence. during the telecast of the 91st Academy Awards.
Melissa Berton, center left, and Rayka Zehtabchi, center right, accept the Short Film (Live Action) award for Period. End Of Sentence. during the telecast of the 91st Academy Awards. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Oscars’ menstruation documentary

Bravo to Mary McNamara for her article about this Oscar-winning documentary, “Period. End of Sentence,” [“Small Step for Women,” Feb. 22]. Not only did McNamara tell the story of these girls in India and their menstrual issues, but she did it in a very entertaining way. The idea that a female character is 1,875 times more likely to be eaten by a zombie than to be seen having cramps in a movie is a great eye-opener.

Marlene Bronson, Los Angeles

The conversation continues online with comments and letters from readers at latimes.com/calendarfeedback

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