Green Book took the Best Picture gong at yesterday’s Academy Awards ceremony – but not without facing some serious scrutiny.

It earned a mixed critical response upon its release. Moviegoers and filmmakers alike questioned its representation of race relations in the 1960s. Despite a Best Supporting Actor-worthy performance from Mahershala Ali, detractors labelled Green Book a film about race relations for white people.

There’s also been a fair bit of commentary on the film’s production team. Can’t forget that.

But on the same night Green Book received one of film’s highest honours, Trevor Noah sent a message directly to speakers of the African Xhosa language – and he fibbed to everyone else while doing so.

While introducing a clip of Best Picture nominee Black Panther, the South African comedian joked the character T’Challa would often recite the Xhosa phrase “abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka,” meaning “in times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.”

He was taking the piss. South African news outlet CapeTalk reports the phrase actually means “white people don’t know I’m lying.”

It was the best joke of the entire host-less ceremony, and many viewers – including us – only picked it up after observing reactions from the Xhosa speakers who watched the broadcast.

Delivering a joke with a timed fuse during one of the year’s biggest telecasts was a bold move, but you cannot help but respect it.

Source: Vulture
Image: Craig Sjodin / Getty Images