Oscar Scandal? Nick Vallelonga, Scripter of Oscar-Frontrunner Green Book, Apologizes for Anti-Muslim Tweet

Could this potential scandal really damage the prospects of Green Book for Oscar Gold?

Nick Vallelonga, scripter of Green Book, Golden Globe winner of Best Comedy, has apologized for posting a tweet supporting a text that American Muslims could be seen cheering after 9/11.

Photo: Golden Globe winner Nick Vallelonga

“I want to apologize,” Vallelonga said in a statement issued Thursday night. “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.’ I especially deeply apologize to the incredibly brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali and all member 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.”

Photo: Mahershala Ali, Golden Globe Supporting Actor winner for Green Book.

Vallelonga had deleted the tweet on Wednesday, January 9, after the tweet recirculated.

Vallelonga’s apology comes two months after actor Viggo Mortensen had apologized for making an (unintentional) racist slur at a screening of Green Book.

The film’s co-financer and producer Participant Media also released a statement, saying, “We find Mr. Vallelonga’s Twitter post offensive, dangerous, and antithetical to Participant Media’s values. We reject it in no uncertain terms.”

Racist 2015 Tweet

“@realDonaldTrump 100% correct,” the November 2015 tweet read. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”

At a November rally, Trump said, “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

When Trump was challenged on his claim, but the then-presidential candidate insisted that he saw Muslims celebrating with his own eyes.

Vallelonga’s script is based on the experiences of his father, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), driving concert pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) through the Deep South for a tour in the early 1960s.

there’s another potential danger: Shirley’s family had spoken out against the film, disputing its depiction of the tour’s events. and stating that they had not been contacted during production.

Director Peter Farrelly, Mortensen, and Vallelonga have defended the film, which won Golden Globes on January 6 for best comedy or musical, best screenplay and supporting actor for Ali. The screenplay was written by Vallelonga, Brian Currie and director Peter Farrelly.

Wide Open Oscar Race?

As there is no clear frontrunner at the Oscar race this year, Green Book is considered a major contender, alongside its major competitor, Bradley Cooper’s highly acclaimed A Star Is Born.  It remains t be seen whether the Spanish-speaking Mexican made masterpiece, Roma, also garners Best Picture (and Best Director) nominations.

Critical Response:

A Star Is Born is a better-liked movie by reviewers and critics across the board than Green Book: 90 percent fresh and 81 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes meter.

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