Mahershala Ali Addresses 'Green Book' Criticism After Golden Globe Win

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The family of Dr. Don Shirley, the piano virtuoso that Ali portrays in the film, says that the portrayal of Shirley was not accurate.
Paula Rogo Jan, 07, 2019

After his Golden Globe win on Sunday for his performance in Green Book, Mahershala Ali took the opportunity to address the controversy surrounding the film.

Ali plays piano virtuoso, Dr. Don Shirley, as he embarks on his 1962 concert tour in the Deep South alongside his bodyguard, played by Viggo Mortensen. However, the film has been criticized by Dr. Shirley’s family, who said they were not consulted for the film. They have also called the movie a “symphony of lies.”

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Ali addressed the family’s backlash and sharp criticism backstage after he won the Best Supporting Actor award.

“I will say this: my job is always the same,” he said. “I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it.”

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He added: “I respect the family…and Doc Shirley. I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don’t want to offend anyone in any capacity.”

In his acceptance speech, Ali called Dr. Shirley a “brilliant man.”

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“I want to thank him for his passion and virtuosity and the dignity he carried himself with that inspired me every day,” the actor said.