The Academy guaranteed controversy by awarding Green Book the Oscar for Best Picture, but the filmmakers choosing to give the late Carrie Fisher a special dedication in their acceptance speech has sent plenty of pundits and viewers into further frenzy online.
Before anyone makes the assumption that director Peter Farrelly or producer Charles Wessler implied or suggested some kind of approval of their racially-charged Green Book on Fisher's part, the answer is a lot less explosive - although we doubt that's going to convince those who take offense at seeing the late Star Wars star connected to praising Green Book and its controversies in any way at all.
To clarify, the acceptance speech for Green Book concluded the show, offering a bulk of the closing seconds to director Farrelly. That was, until producer Charles Wessler took to the microphone to give one last tribute. While it appeared that the in-house audience couldn't hear his comments, those watching the broadcast could, as he dedicated the film and its Academy Award win to "our great friend, Carrie Fisher." And as if the controversial changes to Green Book's 'true story' and an anti-Islamic tweet from its writer hadn't stunned some viewers enough, seeing Fisher - famously intolerant of ignorance, misogyny, or racism - mentioned by name was the most confounding moment of all.
But the dedication which makes a lot of sense once you realize that Wessler got one of his first movie industry jobs as a production assistant on The Empire Strikes Back, with Return of the Jedi not long after. Although Wessler and Fisher's careers didn't overlap much beyond those films, a brief search online shows that Wessler and Fisher appeared friendly together well into the 2010s. And the same goes for his longtime directing partner Peter Farrelly, regularly accompanied by Fisher at more than one of his red carpet walks for his comedies like Hall Pass, and Dumb & Dumber To.
As for the win itself, we've already explained why Green Book winning Best Picture isn't a surprise, having previously earned the Producers Guild Award for Best Picture, and being targeted specifically at demographics into which many Academy voters now fall. The dust isn't likely to settle in the coming days, but at least those curious now know that Green Book's filmmakers weren't making their tribute in the specific context of their film, but as a dedication to a life long friend.
To see who else left the show with statues in hand, be sure to check out our full list of Oscar nominees and winners in each category.