Though he started his career as an outsider, Spike Lee is now considered a bonafide legend who has finally begun to receive his well-deserved flowers.
Per Variety, the Directors Guild of America will grant Lee its Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction at the DGA Awards on March 12.
“Icon. Trailblazer. Visionary. Spike Lee has changed the face of cinema, and there is no single word that encapsulates his significance to the craft of directing,” Lesli Linka Glatter, President of the DGA, said in a statement. “From his groundbreaking Do the Right Thing, BlacKkKlansman and everything in between—to his signature ‘double dolly’ shot, Spike is an innovator on so many levels. His bold and passionate storytelling over the past three decades has masterfully entertained, as it held a stark mirror to our society and culture.”
Honestly, it’s about time for this honor. Name another director with such a groundbreaking filmography that includes critically-acclaimed classics like Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Inside Man, School Daze, Crooklyn, BlacKKKlansman and Da 5 Bloods.
The DGA will announce its 2022 nominees for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film on Jan. 27, while nominations in outstanding directorial achievement in television, commercials, and documentary will be announced on Jan. 26.
As we previously reported at The Root, Lee recently signed a multi-year creative partnership with Netflix in December. Per the terms of their deal, he’ll direct and produce films, as well as help to develop new talent.
“While he is no stranger to huge commercial success, he is also the beating heart of independent film,” Glatter said. “Even as countless filmmakers call Spike their mentor and inspiration, he continues to devote his time to teaching future generations how to make their mark. We are thrilled to present Spike with the DGA’s highest honor.”
Of the 35 directors to receive the award, previous honorees include legends like Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg. Ridley Scott, who helmed classic films like 1979's Alien, 1991's Thelma and Louise, and 2007's American Gangster, was the most recent recipient of the award in 2017.