Oscars 2019: Spike Lee gets political in his award acceptance speech, asks voters to 'do the right thing'
Lee's speech was the only moment when the Academy Awards truly felt right, as he spoke about the 400-year-old tale of the slavery and torture of his ancestors.
Finally, we have a big takeaway from the 91st Academy Awards, and let's take a moment to thank director Spike Lee for it. As 'BlackkKlansman' went on to receive the award for the Best Adapted Screenplay category, Spike Lee took the stage to receive the award along with fellow screenplay writer, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, and Kevin Willmott. This is also the first time that Lee has been nominated for the category Best Director, and he already decided to do the right thing by wearing four-fingered LOVE and HATE rings to Sunday’s Academy Awards. And it took him 30 years to hold this award in his hands.
While receiving the award, Lee spoke at length about his grandmother, who in spite of being the daughter of a slave, had graduated from college. He mentioned that in the 100 years that his grandmother lived, "My grandmother put aside 50 years of her social security cheques, to put her first grandchild- she called me Spikey Poo- she put me through college, NYU grad school." Lee alluded to the reference of the slavery that Africans suffered in the hands of those who claimed them as their slaves and had snatched away their freedom. Lee spoke about how 400 years ago, in 1619, his ancestors "were stolen from Africa and brought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved."
Spike Lee wins his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and launches into a political speech, yelling through his acceptance written on yellow legal paper. “Let's Do The Right Thing,” Spike declares!#Oscars #AcademyAwards— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) February 25, 2019
He continued, "Our ancestors worked from a morning where they can't see the morning, where they can't see the night." Following the reference to history, he spoke about his grandmother, who has been an inspirational figure to him. He wrapped his speech neatly by thanking his ancestors, as he said, "Before the world tonight, I thank my ancestors, who build this country, along with the genocide of our native people. We all connect with our ancestors, to regain humanity." Lee slightly alluded towards the 2020 Presidential Elections, which is being highly anticipated.
He said, "The 2020 Presidential Election is just around the corner. 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." As the most inspirational speech, so far at the Oscars, Lee was in the spirit to bring about something new to the Oscars this year. The director is after all sporting a pair of four-fingered Love and Hate rings on his finger. He had explained at the Red Carpet itself, "It’s a tale of good and evil. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, LOVE, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses — the right hand is coming back.”
“BlacKkKlansman” follows a black cop in the 1970s who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan, based on the true story of Ron Stallworth. This is Lee's first nomination and win at the Oscars, after his 'Do the Right Thing' was snubbed for a best picture nod, although that year 'Driving Miss Daisy' had won the category.