News and Commentary

Spike Lee Blasts Oscars: ‘Every 10 Years Black Folks Get Awards’

Hollywood veteran Spike Lee blasted the Oscars for not giving enough awards to “black folks” at the Icon Mann Gala on Thursday night.

“Has Hollywood discovered black people? And then it would be a nine-year drought. So we don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Spike Lee said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Even though Lee’s movie “BlacKkKlansman” is nominated for six Academy Awards this year — including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay — Lee says that #OscarsSoWhite is the reason why he may take home an Oscar on Sunday.

At the event, Lee invited former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, alleging that she and #OscarsSoWhite founder April Reign “are the reason why we got nominations… they are responsible for all these black folks getting nominations.”

“I’ve always felt that when there are awards, I think ‘Who’s voting?’,” Lee said. “The Academy looks much more like the America we live in and it was your vision.”

Lee noted that the recognition of black films at the Academy Awards are cyclical, arguing that “every 10 years black folks get awards.”

“Has Hollywood discovered black people?” Spike Lee said of the questions he receives every year. “And then it would be a nine-year drought. So we don’t know what’s going to happen next year. There’s a lot of people who have been nominated, especially the filmmakers, and are they going to have a film next year?”

For this drought to end, Spike Lee called for more black gatekeepers in the industry.

“Gatekeepers decide what films they’re making and what films they’re not making, and if we’re not in the room we don’t got a voice. If we’re not in the room it can be a drought, a feast to famine,” Lee said. “We want this to be a continuation where we get our work out, we show it to the world and we demonstrate that black folks are not one monolithic group. We look different, think different, talk different, dress different.”

Recently, in promotion of “BlacKkKlansman,” Lee called upon America to acknowledge its racist history, citing the “terrorist” Christopher Columbus as an example.

“I also have to say the reason why I’m wearing this hat and pullover is that many years ago the first slaves were brought to this country in Jamestown, Virginia, 1619 and 2019,” Lee said on MSNBC. “I think that a lot of people need to know this. Because this is part of American history, which is not all good.”

The filmmaker went on to describe Columbus as a “terrorist” and claim that America is not honest about its history.

“You know, I think that when I was in public school in Brooklyn, New York, I was not told George Washington owned slaves,” he said. “I was told he chopped down the cherry tree and wouldn’t tell a lie. In 1492, this guy, this terrorist sailed the ocean blue. I mean, we have got to start teaching, I feel, my opinion, let’s be honest about our history and let’s move forward. We’re not honest about our history.”