Film

Spike Lee Finally Won An Academy Award; Gave A Long Speech About Diversity And Growing Up Black

At one point he also high-fives Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and Wesley Snipes.

Despite being one of the most groundbreaking, relevant and defining films of the era, Spike Lee’s now legendary Do The Right Thing was famously snubbed at the 1990 Oscars. One of the film’s stars Danny Aiello scored the award for Best Supporting Actor and Lee was nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay, but the lion’s share of both the awards and critical praise was instead directed towards Driving Miss Daisy: a well-meaning but ultimately uncomfortable story of a racist old white woman befriending her African-American driver.

Progress, circa 1989.

When speaking about the awards in interviews over the past two decades, this is a point that’s obviously troubled Lee. “When Driving Miss Motherfucking Daisy won Best Picture, that hurt,” he told New York Magazine in 2008. “[But] no one’s talking about Driving Miss Daisy now.”

“They’re always going to go with the passive black servant instead of a movie that asks tough questions and offers a perspective they might not be comfortable with,” he said in another interview. “The Oscars’ assessment of a movie’s quality usually isn’t held up by history. That’s why they don’t matter.”