I was speaking to Spike Lee in early December ’18 in a Manhattan screening room. (Alan Elliott‘s Amazing Grace had just shown, and Lee, one of the producers, had just sat for a q & a.) Being a huge fan of Green Book, I asked Spike if he’d seen it. Spike said he hadn’t, but a little voice was telling me that he had and was fibbing because he didn’t want to get into it.

Sure enough, Spike turned out to be a Green Book hater. Which really surprised me. I figured a director as skilled and sophisticated as Lee would at least admire the craft that went into Peter Farrelly’s film, not to mention Mahershala Ali‘s sublime performance. But no — Spike had decided to join the haters because he wanted a film set in 1962 to look, talk and feel like it was set in 2018 — i.e., all woked up.

“Wow, that’s not very perceptive,” I muttered to myself. “Why would a feisty independent guy like Spike, a guy who was born in 1957…why would he  side with the wokesters?”

Now Lee has done it again, and I’m realizing that there are two Spike Lees — the smart and willful guy who knows all about sharp-edged filmmaking (Lee #1), and another who says what he feels he ought to say given the anti-white-guy woke climate and whatnot (Lee #2).

He’s told The Washington Post‘s Jada Yuan that Killers of the Flower Moon is “a great film” when he knows deep down it’s more of a sturdy, well-crafted one than a truly stellar achievement…one that exudes that Scorsese aliveness, that snap-crackle-and-pop. He’s calling it “great” because it says over and over that greedy white Oklahoma murderers were really bad news, and because Lee feels a natural kinship with anti-racist cinema.

He’s also told Yuan that Lily Gladstone — “that Native American woman,” he calls her — will be “winning an Oscar. And I don’t think that’s a supporting role. I think that’s a leading role. She’s got my vote.”

I’m sorry but Lee #2 is just full of shit. He knows what a leading actor has to do in order to qualify as such (i.e., stand up, carry the ball, confront the bad guys). He’s not saying what he really thinks deep down. He’s playing along with the identity fanatics.

Message from a critic friendo, received yesterday: “With Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese has become a dull moralist. This is not why we all loved his films over the decades.”