Lee, who had also been nominated for best picture and best director, also touched on the 2020 US presidential election as he read from his notes. "To keep going and never give up, and when you think it's impossible, just do not forget to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: 'I did my best, and my best is good enough'".
"I thought I was courtside at the [Madison Square] Garden, and the ref made a bad call", he was also heard saying.
The word today is "irony".
Having told the audience that we "all connect with the ancestors who have love, wisdom and humanity", Lee turned his attention to the future.
The award evening belonged to Bohemian Rhapsody as it led the 91st Academy Awards taking four Oscars in the Best actor, film editing, sound mixing, and sound editing categories. "Let's do the right thing".
"My grandmother who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild-she called me Spikey-Poo", he recalled. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. It will be a powerful moment.
Leading up to the Oscars, Lee played the race card at every opportunity to pressure Academy members for more votes.
In his speech, Cuaron thanked the academy for recognizing "a film centered around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights, a character that has historically been relegated in the background in cinema".
He praised "our ancestors who helped build this country" after invoking the history of slavery, then spoke about the upcoming presidential election.
Lee, whose "Do the Right Thing" came out the same year that "Driving Miss Daisy" won best picture, was among those most visibly upset by the award handed to "Green Book". While BlackkKlansman lost out on Best Picture to Green Book, Lee's acceptance speech was top of the night. Jackson joked that he went off-script to let Lee, a New York Knicks fan, know that his team had finally won a game, before presenting the award with Captain Marvel's Brie Larson.
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