On Sunday night, Spike Lee finally won a competitive Oscar thanks to the screenplay for his film BlacKkKlansman and did not waste the opportunity to deliver an unforgettable speech that began with a long bleep.
After jumping for joy on the stage, the purple-clad Do The Right Thing filmmaker took the microphone and was bleeped almost instantly. New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan tweeted that Lee yelled, "Do not turn that motherf—ing clock on!"
The producers apparently did not, as Lee was given all the time he needed to deliver his speech.
Everyone is texting me asking what Spike Lee said that was bleeped... he began his speech by saying “Do not turn that motherfucking clock on!” And they sure didn’t— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) February 25, 2019
Lee pulled out a folded piece of notebook paper, and recalled how his grandmother "saved 50 years of social security checks" so he could attend Morehouse College and NYU graduate film school. He also added that she called him "Spikey-poo."
At the end, Lee referenced his now-iconic 1989 film Do The Right Thing, which was infamously snubbed at the 1990 Oscars.
"The 2020 presidential election is around the corner," he said. "Let's all mobilize. Let's all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing!"
The speech was not something Lee had planned, even though some pundits predicted he would finally win an Oscar Sunday. As PEOPLE notes, The Daily Show anchor Trevor Noah shared a photo of Lee at the Oscars, watching him scribble down his speech.
"While walking around backstage, I noticed a small figure hunched in a corner writing something," Noah wrote. "I got closer and realized it was Spike Lee writing an acceptance speech for his Oscar nominations. I asked him if I could take this picture to remember the moment and he said yes and 'I hope I get to use this.'"
Lee co-wrote BlacKkKlansman with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott. The film is based on the memoir by Ron Stallworth, a black Colorado Springs detective who infiltrated a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan with Jewish colleague Flip Zimmerman. In the film, John David Washington plays Stallworth, while Adam Driver plays Zimmerman.
The film was also nominated for Best Original Score for Terence Blanchard; Best Director for Lee; Best Supporting Actor for Driver; Best Film Editing for Barry Alexander Brown; and Best Picture.
Lee's first Oscar nomination came in 1990 for his Do The Right Thing screenplay. He was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature for his 1997 film 4 Little Girls, about the four black girls who were killed in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2016, Lee received an honorary Oscar for his career.0comments
Lee's other films include Malcolm X, She's Gotta Have It, Miracle at St. Anna, Inside Man and 25th Hour. He also directed episodes of Netflix's She's Gotta Have It, based on his 1986 feature film debut.
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