×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spike Lee Wins His First Competitive Oscar

“BlackKklansman” director Spike Lee took home his first Oscar at Sunday’s Academy Awards, following five nominations over nearly 30 years.

“Do not turn that motherf—ing clock on!” he shouted as he took to stage, relishing in a moment years in the making. However, Academy producers were less enthused, bleeping out the sentence and leaving many viewers confused as to why the audio dropped out for so long at the start of his remarks.

Audio didn’t cut back in until Lee began thanking his wife Tonya Lewis Lee – the start to an impassioned speech about the history of African-Americans in the United States and the extreme hardships they faced.

“I want to thank Tonya,” he said. “The word today is irony; the date, the 24th; the month, February, which also happens to be the shortest month of the year, which also happens to be Black History Month; the year, 2019; the year, 1619. History, herstory. 1619, 2019. Four hundred years, our ancestors were stolen from Africa and enslaved. They worked the land from morning to night.”

“Before the world tonight I give praise to my ancestors who built our country, along with the genocide of our native people,” he continued. “We all connect with ancestors, to regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment.”

Lee also took time to thank his grandmother – a college graduate despite being the daughter of a slave – who saved 50 years of social security checks to put him through college all while calling him “Spiky poo” along the way.

After graduating film school from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, Lee got his first taste of Academy recognition for his 1990 film “Do the Right Thing” before nabbing another nod in 1998 for “4 Little Girls” as well as an honorary Oscar in 2016. This year, Lee is nominated in three categories including best achievement in directing, best motion picture, and best adapted screenplay, for which he won the Academy Award.

Back on the Academy stage, Lee closed out his speech with a simple call to action, reminding audience members about the impending presidential elections and ending with a small shoutout for his first hit film.

“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,” he said. “Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”

More Film

  • South Mountain

    Film Review: 'South Mountain'

    “South Mountain” joins the company of “Gloria Bell” and “Diane” as yet another 2019 drama intimately attuned to the literal and emotional plight of a middle-aged woman. In the case of Hilary Brougher’s incisive feature, the female in question is Lila (Talia Balsam), whose quiet life in upstate New York is destabilized by a continuing [...]

  • The Good Girls

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Good Girls'

    The economy’s a mess but Sofía’s hair is perfect in Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls,” a film that is all surface in a way that is not, for once, a negative. The primped, powdered and shoulder-padded story of the fall from grace of a 1980s Mexican socialite is all about buffed and lustrous surfaces [...]

  • ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (Who Totally

    ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (But in a Good Way)

    Ari Aster can likely cross off “sophomore slump” from his list of many nightmares. Distributor A24 let loose the follow-up to the director’s widely praised, commercial hit debut “Hereditary” with two buzz screenings, which ran simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Response was almost unanimously positive, if not significantly rattled. “Holy [...]

  • Toy Story 4 Forky

    ‘Toy Story 4’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Toy Story 4.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.53 million through Sunday for 1,073 national ad airings on 38 networks. [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content