Spike Lee has been directing critically-acclaimed films for over 30 years. Last night, he finally won his first competitive Academy Award, for his work adapting the screenplay of "BlacKkKlansman."
"BlacKkKlansman" recounts the true story of two police detectives who infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. It was nominated for six awards, including Best Directing, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. It won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Lee beamed as he walked onto the Oscar stage to accept the award and lept into presenter Samuel L. Jackson's arms for a hug. During his acceptance speech, Lee thanked his grandmother for encouraging him and for supporting him.
"My grandmother, who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild — she called me Spikey-poo — she put me through Morehouse College and NYU grad film," said Lee. "Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who built this country, along with the genocide of its native people."
Lee was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2015, but last night's win was his first competitive Academy Award. In 1989, Lee's film "Do the Right Thing" hit screens and was by most measures a wild success, costing just $6.5 million to make but bringing in over $37 million across box offices worldwide.
The film, which explores racial tensions in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, was nominated for two Oscars during the 1990 Academy Awards — Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay — but did not win either. "Do the Right Thing" was not nominated for Best Picture.