‘Green Book’: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali on What an “Oscar Movie” Means

     November 19, 2018

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The next few months are bound to be quite the ride for Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. The duo stars in the Peter Farrelly-directed film Green Book as Tony Vallelonga and Dr. Don Shirley, respectively. Tony works as a bouncer, but when an opportunity to make a little extra money comes along, he takes the gig and winds up escorting Doc Shirley, a world-class pianist, from Manhattan to the South for a concert tour in the 1960s. The two are completely different people with extremely different lifestyles that don’t quite jell at the beginning of their journey, but along the way, they learn from one another and also come to respect their differences.

If you’ve been watching Collider For Your Consideration, you know that we’ve discussed what it means to be an Oscar movie nowadays with the growing Academy and also to us personally. Sitting across from an Academy Award nominee and winner who also happen to have some serious, well-deserved Oscar buzz this year, I had to pose that question to them as well. Find out what being an Oscar movie means to Mortensen and Ali in the video interview at the top of this article.

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Image via Universal Pictures

Catch Green Book in theaters when it expands nationwide on November 21st. Here’s the official synopsis for the film:

Academy Award® nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) star in Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures’ Green Book.  In his foray into powerfully dramatic work as a feature director, Peter Farrelly helms the film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.

 

When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans.  Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

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