Spike Lee Chaplin Award Gala Moved Amid Coronavirus Fears

Spike Lee speaks onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards - Getty - H 2020
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The event was set to take place at the end of April.

The 2020 Chaplin Award Gala, honoring Spike Lee, will be rescheduled for later this fall, New York's Film at Lincoln Center announced Thursday.

The move comes as the film society is closing two of its venues in response to ongoing health concerns related to the coronavirus.

Film at Lincoln Center was set to present a select retrospective of Lee's films alongside the gala, which is the nonprofit's most important fundraising event of the year.

This year's New Directors/New Films festival, which was set to run March 25-April 5, will also be postponed.

The adjustments come as numerous other events and large gatherings have been paused due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced that there were to be no gatherings of more than 500 people after 5 p.m. local time on Friday. Schools, hospitals, mass transit and nursing homes are exempt from the rule.

The rule for Broadway shows, however, goes into effect immediately, with performances paused through April 12.

The 46th Chaplin Award Gala was set to take place April 27. With the honor, Lee will join previous recipients Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Helen Mirren and Charlie Chaplin himself, who returned to the U.S. in 1972 to accept the first award.

“As the COVID-19 situation develops, Film at Lincoln Center’s top priority remains the health, wellness, and safety of our staff, audiences, and artists," executive director Lesli Klainberg said in a statement. "We remain committed to our nonprofit mission — supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema."