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Spike Lee, the veteran Oscar-winning filmmaker behind masterpieces including Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and BlacKkKlansman, will receive the Directors Guild of America’s highest honor — the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction, which “recognizes extraordinary efforts in the art of cinema” — at the 74th DGA Awards ceremony, the guild announced Wednesday.
DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter said in a statement: “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. 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. And while he is no stranger to huge commercial success, he is also the beating heart of independent film. 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.”
Lee, 64, was previously recognized with a DGA Honor for “distinguished contributions to our nation’s culture in support of filmmaking” in 2002, and DGA Award nominations in the feature film category for BlacKkKlansman in 2019 and in the variety/talk/news/sports specials category for American Utopia in 2021.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, recipients of which are selected by past and present presidents of the guild, has been presented only 35 times in the guild’s 86-year history. Past recipients include Frank Capra (1959), Alfred Hitchcock (1968), Orson Welles (1984), Billy Wilder (1985), Steven Spielberg (2000), Martin Scorsese (2003), Milos Forman (2013) and, most recently, Ridley Scott (2017).
Lee’s will be presented at the 74th DGA Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 12.
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