News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Spike Lee’s Oscar Speech Ticks Off Trump

Photograph by Evy Mages

Morning after: Welcome to Oscars Monday, which is what happens the morning after you enjoy the Academy Awards a little too much on Oscars Sunday. Didn’t watch? Let me break down some of the DC-related things you missed. There weren’t as many mentions of politics as in some years past, possibly in part due to this year’s show being hostless. But a handful of attendees did slip in their points of view.

Just about a minute into the evening, Maya Ruldoph mentioned the border wall: “There’s no host, there won’t be a popular-movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall.”

But it was director Spike Lee’s acceptance speech for his first Oscar that got to Trump (guess he was watching?). Lee said, in part: “The 2020 Presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.” While not mentioning any candidate or legislator specifically, Lee managed to tick off Trump enough to inspire a tweet calling Lee’s remarks a “racist hit on your President who has done more for African Americans […] than almost any other Pres!” Huh, okay.

José Andrés introduced Best Picture nominee Roma while sporting a pin with the World Central Kitchen logo. “Each person’s life is a recipe all on its own with different measures of joy and sadness, struggle and success, love and loss,” Andres said. “All of the ingredients are universal.” Andrés did not mention any politician or policy by name, but a line in his speech—“immigrants and women move humanity forward”—got a shout out from Hillary Clinton on Twitter. 

Rep. John Lewis introduced Green Book (which ended up winning Best Picture, btw) by underscoring the pain of racism in America. “I can bear witness that the portrait of that time and place in our history is very real. It is seared in my memory,” he said.

Oh, and the CIA did a series of Twitter polls about the technology in Black Panther as part of their #ReelvsRealCIA series. They asked which Wakandan technology people would most want to see happen in real life. The winner: holograms.

I’m your author who really can’t get Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance of “Shallow” out of her head, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Subscribe to the newsletter—I am willing to watch long awards shows so you don’t have to.

What’s on my mind: Someone’s visiting all of the DC Metro stations and taking beautiful photos.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

  • The Pho Queen is back: Germaine Swanson returns to the dining scene to serve up Vietnamese dishes in Old Town.
  • Order the quiche next time you’re at brunch. Trust us.

Our pick for things to do around town:

HOCKEY The Washington Capitals are celebrating Black History Month by hosting the NHL’s Black Hockey History Tour, a mobile museum, at the Embassy of Canada. It will feature highlights from 200 years of black achievement in hockey, from its trailblazers and Stanley Cup champions to the next generation of players, broadcasters, and officials. The Caps’ Black History in Hockey theme night on Tuesday at Capital One Arena will feature Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, in the ceremonial puck drop. Tour open daily through February 27, 11 AM to 7 PM. Tuesday game: $61-$285, 7 PM.

Good reads:

Lots of people now download email trackers and attach read receipts to their outgoing messages. But Stephanie Dubick argues that trackers are making work anxiety worse. (The Outline)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Join me and Brad Jenkins, a veteran of both the Obama administration and Funny or Die’s DC office, for a discussion on what it’s like to work in the White House, how Americans get their information, how to make policy entertaining, and more! Listen: The bar will be open, the laughs will be plentiful, and the karaoke (mostly) optional. This is a great opportunity to mingle with folks in the know. Plus you get to meet me, which is often a memorable experience. It’s happening on February 27. Get tickets here.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.