UPDATE:Nick Vallelonga has issued a statement apologizing for the offensive post. The original article follows.
Green Book co-writer Nick Vallelonga has deleted his Twitter account after a controversial post of his resurfaced. In a year in which Universal released the latest offering from Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (Neil Armstrong biopic First Man), few would have predicted the studio's biggest awards contender would be a true-story dramedy about race relations by Peter Farrelly. Best known as one half of the Farrelly brothers duo behind comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary, he made an interesting career pivot that (at least initially) paid off in spades. Green Book won the People's Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and recently took home Best Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes.
For all its critical praise and accolades, Green Book is considered one of the more polarizing and divisive movies in the race. Many people took issue with the film's rather conventional approach to its subject matter and choice to primarily focus on Tony Lip's (Viggo Mortensen) personal transformation. Some dismissed it as a white savior picture and a modern update of Driving Miss Daisy, but Green Book continued to be one of the leading award contenders. Now, however, its chances at Best Picture took a substantial hit.
Per IndieWire, Vallelonga (who won a Golden Globe for the Green Book screenplay) took down his Twitter account when a controversial 2015 tweet of his circulated online. In the post, Vallelonga supported Donald Trump's claim that New Jersey Muslims celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. Vallelonga wrote, “100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
Green Book was already facing major backlash, and as one can imagine, that's only intensified now. Presumably, this is a huge blow to the film's Oscar campaign and may hurt its chances of winning. In addition to Best Picture, Green Book was a frontrunner in the Best Original Screenplay category, and it seems unlikely the Academy will want to award Vallelonga during a ceremony that's already had to deal with its own controversy this year (the Kevin Hart hosting debacle). The timing of this blowing up is not coincidental, as voting for Oscar nominations opened on Monday. It'll be interesting to see if Green Book misses out on any key nods that were expected; and if the film does secure multiple nominations, it's no longer the favorite. Even Mahershala Ali's odds of taking home Best Supporting Actor are shakier simply by association.
With Green Book's Oscar hopes dwindling, the door is now open for another film to get out in front of the competition. Looking over the likely nominees, the strongest possibilities are Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born and Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman. They're two titles that have gone through the circus that is awards season relatively unscathed and incited minimal blowback. That goes a long way in the Oscar race, especially since Best Picture is decided by a preferential ballot (where second and third place votes can determine the winner). Sadly for Green Book, it might be in a hole too deep.
Update Source: Variety