Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
PETER FARRELLY: Oh, my God. Wow. That’s unbelievable. I’m just so grateful. Thank you very, very much. First of all, I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press. This is beyond anything we ever imagined when we started shooting this thing. Thank you so much. I want to thank my wife, Melinda. Best thing that ever happened to me right there. And my kids, Bob and Apple, who weaseled their way up here (indicating). They’re the greatest. I want to thank all the hard-working people at Universal. First of all, Participant, you guys turned it around. You’re the ones that jumped on board first and I’m so grateful. I want to thank everybody at Universal. I want to thank DreamWorks, Focus, Ted Virtue. Octavia Spencer ‑‑ (Applause.) ‑‑ as beautiful as she is, she’s even kinder and more intelligent inside. She’s the best thing that happened to this movie. Thank you very much. (Applause.) I want to thank Charlie Wessler, Jim Burke, Pete Hammond. Now let’s go to the big boys. I want to thank Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. This movie does not get made without them. I want to thank Linda Cardellini. Unbelievable. The heart and soul of the movie. I want to thank the great Sean Porter, our DP. I want to thank Kris Bowers, who did the music for this movie. Incredible guy. Kwame Parker, you up here somewhere? Kwame, everybody, thank you so much. “Green Book” is the story of a trip that Don Shirley and Tony “Lip” Vallelonga ‑‑ please ‑‑ no. Turn that off. No. Go away. Off. Okay. It’s the story of the trip that Don Shirley and Tony “Lip” Vallelonga took in the pre‑Civil Rights era of a 1960. Don Shirley was a great man and an underappreciated genius who couldn’t play the music he wanted to play simply because of the color of his skin. Yet he went on to create his own genre of music, a sound so beautiful that it still resonates today. Tony Vallelonga came from an immigrant family in the Bronx and from a culture that didn’t value diversity or individuality. Yet during that trip with Dr. Shirley, he grew and evolved more than most families do over several generations. This story, when I heard it, gave me hope, and I wanted to share that hope with you. Because we’re still living in divided times, maybe more so than ever. And that’s who this movie’s for. It’s for everybody. If Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga can find common ground, we all can. All we have to do ‑‑ (Applause.) All we have to do is talk and to not judge people by their differences, but look for what we have in common. And we have a lot in common. We all want the same thing. We want love. We want happiness. We want to be treated equally. And that’s not such a bad thing. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Q. What was your favorite moment of filming this little trip?
MR. FARRELLY: Wow, that’s such a hard question, my favorite moment of shooting it.
When we were shooting the glasses in the trash scene because we had the two workers who were drinking out of the lemonade glasses. They hadn’t read the script. They just read their scenes and they get hired.
When we are doing it they see that Viggo Mortensen is taking those glasses and dropping them in the trash. They are, like, what the hell kind of movie is this? They pulled me aside. They said isn’t he the hero? They said why would he do that? I said, okay, I sat them down and took 15 minutes and told them the whole story and said this is where he’s starting from and where he’s going to. These guys were ready to walk off the set if I didn’t have a good answer to that. So that was my most memorable.
Q. Octavia, this one means a lot to people in your family, and I am just curious to know what message you may have for the members of Dr. Shirley’s family who disapproved of the film?
MS. SPENCER: I’ll take that one. You know what, I’m a little troubled answering that question because — so what I would like to say in lieu of anything directly to the Shirley family is what it meant for me because I have been a part of four films from this era. So for me it was about the idea that there were people like Don Shirley in the ’60s and we never saw that on the film. So that’s what I took from it and what I still take from it.
I think Pete and Nick and Mahershala and Viggo and all of the filmmakers were putting their hearts into it. That’s what I would say to the Shirley family. He meant a lot to a lot of people, and I am glad that I got to share that story.
Q. How did you get involved in this and at which moments did you speak up about tone or about the plot or about the acting, what you hoped this movie would accomplish? And congratulations, it sure did.
MS. SPENCER: Jonathan King and I did The Help together. For those of you who don’t realize how much the conversations about diversity and the effects they are having across this industry, Jonathan King said we don’t have anybody from the South.
We don’t have a perspective that is as unique as yours, would you mind reading the script to see if you want to be involved?
I applaud him for that type of envision. I applaud Pete for welcoming me into the fold. When I read the script, I am going to be really honest with you, I said to Jonathan, I don’t know — really know how I can help you because I think you have two very strong leads and if they are weighing in on this, because it felt really good to me when I read it, I don’t know how I could help you.
Then Pete and I had a lot of conversations about a lot of different things, and I felt that I could be a sounding board for him. I love this film and script. I think they did an amazing job, and I am thrilled to be here tonight.
MR. FARRELLY: If I can jump on that, she was in the editing room right out of the gate. We had about 20 minutes cut together and I wanted her to approve it and tell me we are on the right path. She came in and that was the day I knew we were going in the right direction. But we never really clashed because we were in sync the whole time. But she gave me a lot of confidence by helping me early on.
Q. This question, again, to do this to you, is for Octavia Spencer. I think that one of the most powerful things about this film for me was seeing your name in the credits as a producer. I loved seeing an Oscar winner Octavia Spencer get behind the camera.
I wanted to know, what types of projects are calling to you that you want to get behind. I know that you are working on something with LeBron James. What types of projects are kind of inspiring you to kind of go behind the camera and get made?
MS. SPENCER: I think the projects that are inspiring me are the ones that we get to see. I am really excited about some of the things that are coming my way. But again, I felt very — this is so weird to be talking about myself and this is about Green Book.
Can I just let you guys talk to them? This is an amazing moment, and I am so proud right now. Can we talk later? I’ll come down and talk to you later. I want them to talk about their movie.
Q. This is for Viggo. The character you play is somebody that can exist today and relate to him and be able to have his heart and mind changed. What does it mean to you to be able to reach people who still think in that retro way and make a difference in the way they are going forward?
MR. MORTENSEN: Everything changes. Nothing is ever the same. So I wouldn’t say there’s a guy just like him now necessarily.
I do agree. I was just saying earlier in the other room that discrimination will never go away. And you say that’s a bummer to say that or think that. What I am saying is it is the job of every generation to learn, hopefully, to be less ignorant, to beat ignorance with experience. You can look at that as depressing, or you can look at it as a challenge. I think it is a positive thing.
It is just, like, physically you have to work on yourself. Mentally, also psychologically, also socially, every generation. The
language of racism, prejudice and discrimination involves people’s behavior and they harbor thoughts that are similar to other times. I agree. But it is something you got to work on.
So when people say society right now is very — there’s a lot of antagonism and everybody is in their corners and yelling and nobody is listening. Is this a perfect time for a movie like this? Yes. But any time, any generation, when a movie is this well made, this entertaining and also about profound issues, timeless issues, however you want to look at it, it is always going to be a good time to have a film like this.