Angela Bassett, Ryan Coogler to honor Spike Lee at American Cinematheque ceremony

The Oscar-winning filmmaker is set to be honored during a virtual tribute later this week 

Spike Lee is set to receive the 34th American Cinematheque Award when he is honored during a virtual tribute on Jan. 14.  

The line-up of Hollywood stars who will pay tribute to the Oscar winner has been announced, including Angela Bassett, Ryan Coogler, Jodie Foster, Rosie Perez, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr. 

In a statement, American Cinematheque chair Rick Nicita noted why the iconic filmmaker is the “perfect choice” for the annual award.  

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“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,” Nicita said. “Spike’s ability to perceive and depict the tone of contemporary society is shown in his movies, ranging from ‘Do the Right Thing,’ ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ ‘Malcolm X’ and ‘BlacKkKlansman’ to name only a few. He continues his outstanding output with this year’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and ‘American Utopia.’ We look forward with great anticipation to where he will next shine his light.”

Spike lee
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Lee’s career spans nearly 40 decades, and his film credits include BlacKkKlansman, She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers, Girl 6 and most recently Da Five Bloods. He also directed Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It, an update of his classic 80’s romance drama film. Lee’s documentary credits include 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.

His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since 1983. 

“Our virtual presentation of the AC Award to Spike Lee is a celebration of his extraordinary body of work and an incredible look at the importance of his legacy to his generation and the ones that are following as told by his friends and collaborators over four decades, said Nicita.  “We are extremely grateful to the entertainment industry companies and individual donors of this annual event in these challenging times for their continued generosity that enabled us to reach our goal of $500,000 in support of the mission of the non-profit cultural arts organization.”

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According to a press release, since 1986, the American Cinematheque Award has been presented annually to an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture. Previous honorees include: Eddie Murphy (1986); Denzel Washington (2002), Samuel L. Jackson (2008) and Charlize Theron in 2019.

Lee is being honored this year for Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods and HBO’s American Utopia.

The 34th American Cinematheque celebration will stream live on Thursday, January 14 at 6pm PT. Tickets are still available for the event.

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