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This week's Oscar nominations were a good day for Spike Lee and his newest film. BlacKkKlansman received six nominations including a Best Supporting Actor nod for Adam Driver, a Best Director slot for Lee himself, and a Best Picture nomination. The movie is certainly in a good position heading into next month's awards ceremony, and Spike Lee thinks that recent Oscar protests are to thank for that. Lee says that the #OscarsSoWhite social media movement is the reason his film got this recognition. According to the director...
Well, let’s be honest. This would have not happened if there was not the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. What that campaign did, it made the Academy understand that they had to diversify their membership. Look at Moonlight — the diversity of the voting members makes a difference, so if you want to go back to 1989, that membership was not feeling Do the Right Thing [laughs], they weren’t feeling that. But, look, we’re here today, it’s not 1989, and the world knows where Do the Right Thing is in the place of American history, world history, cinema history, so that’s a given. We’re here today, and I’m so happy for everyone who got the blessing to be nominated for a very important film. And I think when historians, many years down the line, look for a piece of art that crystalized the crazy motherf—ing time we live in, they’re going to BlacKkKlansman at the top of the list, that is my belief. And I’d also like to say this film is on the right side of history, the right side of history.
OscarsSoWhite became a social media hashtag in 2016 when, following the announcement of the Oscar nominations that year, not a single person of color was nominated for any of the acting awards. The lack of diversity among nominees had been called out before, but that year frustration seemed to come to a head and the hashtag went viral.
Spike Lee seems to feel those changes have already borne fruit, as he credits them with Moonlight's win in the Best Picture category two years ago as well as for BlacKkKlansman's success this week.
It certainly is true that while Spike Lee has become one of the most respected film director's working today, this is the first time he's received Oscar recognition in that category. Lee himself points out that his film Do the Right Thing is, without question, viewed today as a remarkable achievement in film, but at the time it was largely overlooked by the Academy, receiving only two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
Spike Lee's nomination in the screenplay category for Do the Right Thing, along with a Best Documentary Feature nomination in 1998, are the only Oscars he was ever nominated for prior to this year. He was given an honorary Oscar in 2016.
It's impossible to know for certain just what the true impact of #OscarsSoWhite really has been, or will be, but one thing that's certain is that BlacKkKlansman is certainly giving Spike Lee the recognition that he deserves today.