Justice for Spike Lee, nominated for the Best Director Oscar for the first time

Producers Guild Awards Nominees

Obviously, I do this for a living, and at this point, I have pushed out actual memories from college and beyond and replaced those memories with Oscar trivia. But I still didn’t realize just how significant it was that Spike Lee received a Best Director Oscar nomination yesterday. To be fair, I was very young when the Do the Right Thing awards controversy erupted, and then I seem to have completely misremembered what went down with Malcolm X. Did you know that Spike did NOT receive Oscar nominations for Best Director for either of those films? BlacKkKlansman was the first the Academy recognized him as a director. He has been nominated previously for Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing, and for his documentary 4 Little Girls. He also received an honorary Oscar in 2016. So this is the first time he was nominated across the board, for Director, producer (best film) and screenplay.

Before the Oscar nominations came out, Spike was just doing his thing as he promoted BlacKkKlansman, and he even sounded like… yeah, a nomination would be nice, but he’d also made his peace with not being recognized by the Academy for one particular film. But he still got up early Tuesday morning with his wife to watch the nominations:

“It’s not something I’ve done in a long time. It was new,” says Spike Lee with a laugh of getting up to watch the nominations. He was joined by his wife and kids (and dog Ginger) to watch the nominations. “We were all in the bed together and we were jumping up and down. It was a good day and my phone is blowing up.” Lee’s film earned six noms, including his first for directing and best picture. He spoke with much of his crew Tuesday morning and also Adam Driver, who was nominated for best supporting actor. “He’s shooting Star Wars in London, where they stopped production and the first AD assembled the cast and crew to congratulate Adam,” says Lee. “Today is filled with love, but at the same time, I was watching the news before it came on and I can’t think about the 800,000 Americans who are now living in a desperate time, and I think this film deals directly with that and all the other crazy sh-t that’s happened in this country since ‘Agent Orange’ [President Donald Trump] got to the White House.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

While Spike has the perspective, and he’s mature enough to avoid saying it, I wonder if he feels like his leading man got robbed. John David Washington was shortlisted for nearly every major award… but didn’t get an Oscar nomination. Viggo Mortensen got an Oscar nomination for playing a white savior. Willem Dafoe got an Oscar nomination for playing Van Gogh in a film few people have seen – no disrespect to Willem, but I suspect even Willem is like “man, Best Actor is a really white category.” Still, it sounds like Spike is incredibly proud, as he should be. BlacKkKlansman was his strongest film in a decade, and Adam Driver was legitimately brilliant in it. Also: this film got Jordan Peele another Oscar nomination, because he executive produced it along with Spike. Yay.

76th Annual Golden Globe awards

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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29 Responses to “Justice for Spike Lee, nominated for the Best Director Oscar for the first time”

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  1. KLO says:

    Good for him!

    I never got over that movie called Girl 6. There was something so vulnerable and devastating about it.

    • Lizzie says:

      same. that was the first movie that crushed me. looking back it is totally a #metoo movie and really called hollywood out for the terrible way they treat actresses. basically a woman is driven crazy and has to rise above by trying to harness her own sexuality while every man she encounters tries to force it from her. it was written by a woman. it is kind of wild that quentin tarantino basically play acted harvey winestein at the height of their working together.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    Congratulations to Spike.

  3. Lucy says:

    I am so here for both him and Adam getting recognized! No idea what Spike’s chances of winning are, but it would be quite something.

    • Esmerelda says:

      Yes, I hope the movie wins all the awards it’s nominated for, especially Best Picture… I think that award would acknowledge the brilliant esemble cast and especially JDW stellar contribution along with Spike Lee’s direction.
      And Spike Lee must win Best Director, the movie walks the fine line of scary/absurd/funny with an ending that’s a real punch in the gut. It’s magisterial, a film class staple. And all its critical callbacks to those canonized yet problematic old movies should be acknowledged – here and now – by the Academy.
      I’m also rooting for Adam Driver, he picks intelligent movies besides Star Wars and I hope an Oscar win for a good and important movie like this one would help him further his career with even more good options.

    • Dana marie says:

      Adam Driver ❤️ was great! *swoon*

  4. SM says:

    I am refereing to this sham of a President only by “Agent Orange” from now on. So accurate. And congrats to Spike. He is so down to earth and not above admitting he cares about a nom. Not the usual “say what. I was sleeping. This nomination blindsided me” routine.

    • Mia4s says:

      “Not the usual “say what. I was sleeping”

      That was Lady Gaga’s line. 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

      Loooong overdue. Who knows, given that Alfonso Cuarón has already won one, Spike might sneak in there.

  5. smcollins says:

    Congrats to Mr. Lee and everyone involved in the film! I finally saw it just yesterday and I absolutely loved it. I fully intend to watch it again before my rental time expires! I agree that Adam Driver was fantastic, as well as John David Washington (he was definitely robbed). I actually didn’t become emotional and cry until the very end with *mild spoiler*
    the footage from Charlottesville. It really drove home how far we *haven’t* come. A truly brilliant and powerful film.

    • Lightpurple says:

      I saw it on the anniversary. Those images were like a hard punch. I am not a weepy person. I don’t cry at movies. I was sobbing and that’s after laughing out loud throughout the rest of the film because I thought it was hilarious.

  6. chloe says:

    I really hope Spike wins, I can’t believe he’s never been nominated for the director award before this.

  7. Nev says:

    Yayyyy it’s anout time! So many great films he’s made. Please.

  8. Chaine says:

    In my mind I always assumed he won for Do the Right Thing. In shock this is his first nomination ever!

  9. Case says:

    Just watched this film last night, and these nominations are so very deserved. John David Washington deserved to be nominated as well (I’ve never even seen him in a film before and he was spectacular), but I’m glad Spike and Adam were recognized and that it’s up for Best Picture.

    I’ve watched Roma, Black Panther, The Favourite, and now BlacKkKlansman. I really adored both The Favourite and BlacKkKlansman and would be happy if either won. I’d like to try to see a couple more nominees before the Oscars — it’s much more fun to watch when you’ve seen the majority of the nominees!

    • Lightpurple says:

      My great aunt (age 90) and I try to see everything nominated in every category. Several movie chains do a Best Picture showcase of the nominated films on the 2 Saturdays before the Oscars. You pay like $35-40 for the day and see half the films on one Saturday, the remaining films on the next Saturday. Some places do a marathon showing all the nominated films in one day. It’s a lot of fun and you get to really feel how each film stacks up against the others.

      Some art museums and smaller independent theaters often get the shorts and run them in little mini-showcases. Some of the best films I see every year are in the shorts and the animated shorts can be mindblowingly creative.

      • Case says:

        You know, I’ve always thought about attending one of the local Best Picture showcases, because it sounds so fun! I didn’t realize there were shorts showcases, but that sounds awesome — I’ll need to see if there are any near me. Thanks!

  10. Tiffany says:

    I to this day have never forgave the Academy for awarding let alone nominating Spike for Malcolm X.

    And the refresher on X…the studio just stop funding it in the middle of production and all but told him they were going to stop all together. Spike then called every uber wealthy person he knew ( Michael Jordan and Oprah where the most prolific ) to get the remaining money and let it be know to anyone that would listen that is what he did. Then the studio was interested all of a sudden and then, nothing. I just cannot believe to this day their PR dept did not hauled ass in networking for his nomination. But I can see why, he did not stay in his place and he knew people as well.

  11. Nikki says:

    Spike Lee is an amazing, original, truthful film maker, and I’m really happy about this.

  12. Rice says:

    There’s a really awesome video of him and his family watching the noms and their reactions when his name got called was great!

  13. Sparker says:

    BlacKKKlansman is hands down the best film of the year. I’m glad loads of people will see it now. Mixed race marriage here and when me and the kids explained it to my white husband he was like ” YEAH, I can totally tell when someone on the phone is black just by listening to them”. So we had to tell him never to say that in public again cause you SOUND LIKE AN ASS. Twenty-five years together and my husband is as good as it gets dealing with white people. Between BlacKKKlansman and White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, 2018 was a watershed for getting closer to the truth about white people.

    • Fabulous says:

      BlacKKKlansman was brilliant – definatley rooting for Spike. Hadn’t heard of White Fragility so did a quick google – I’ve just read the paper on it (not the full book) but it is a very interesting and thought provoking read. cheers Sparker for mentioning it.

  14. Carmen says:

    “Do The Right Thing’ was an absolutely brilliant movie that should have been nominated for best film and best director.

  15. Bumble says:

    And major props to BlacKKKlansman’s Terence Blanchard for original score! Another genius long overdue.
    Go Spike and Terence!!

  16. Keaton says:

    Wow I can’t believe Spike hasn’t been nominated for Best Director before. He’s a real artist!
    Better late than never but damn that’s ridiculous.

    • Marley31 says:

      When I think about Spike Lee I think about School Daze and Do the Right Thing by favorite movies of Spike Lee and not only great movies but a great message behind both and I really enjoyed Blackklansman

  17. SJhere says:

    I enjoy his work. His films are excellent, Malcolm X stayed with me for days after I first saw it. Glad to see he is finally getting his nom.