Spike Lee to Get American Cinematheque Virtual Award Honor

Spike Lee attends the 2019 New York Film Critics Circle Awards - Getty-H 2020
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The Oscar-winning director will be feted at an online celebration set for January 2021.

The American Cinematheque will honor Spike Lee with its 34th American Cinematheque Award, which will be presented Jan. 14, 2021 as part of a pandemic-era virtual tribute.

Details of the gala, including participants in the tribute, will be announced in the coming weeks. Lee, a five-time Oscar nominee who won best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, most recently directed David Byrne’s American Utopia movie adaptation, and before that films like BlacKkKlansman, She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers and Girl 6.

Lee's feature documentary work includes If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise, a follow up to his HBO documentary film When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. On the TV side, he directed Netflix's She’s Gotta Have It, a contemporary update of his classic film.

“As a cultural arts organization that celebrates the importance of film in our society, Spike Lee is the perfect choice for the Cinematheque’s annual award," American Cinematheque board chair Rick Nicita said in a statement.

His organization added it hoped to replicate the traditional gala ceremony virtually, including with a "special entertainment package with food and beverage as well as a commemorative gift for patrons."

The event is an annual fundraiser for the non-profit organization's year-round programming at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Since 1986, American Cinematheque has annually honored a filmmaker or actor in the midst of a career that has contributed significantly to the movie industry.

Previous American Cinematheque Award honorees include Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jodie Foster, Rob Reiner, Mel Gibson, Bradley Cooper and Charlize Theron in 2019.