Iconoclastic filmmaker Spike Lee is set to receive the Directors Guild of America’s top honour, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction.
DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter made the announcement earlier today, labelling Lee an icon, a trailblazer and a visionary. “Spike Lee has changed the face of cinema, and there is no single word that encapsulates his significance to the craft of directing,” she said Wednesday. “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.”
Lee’s incredible career has spanned over 30 years and his body of work includes classics like Do the Right Thing, ‘Mo Better Blues, Malcolm X, Get on the Bus, Inside Man, Chi-Raq and Da 5 Bloods. In 2018, he received a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for his critically-lauded film BlacKkKlansman, which earned him numerous other major nods including one for a Best Director Oscar.
This isn’t the first time Lee has been recognized by the Guild for his storytelling abilities either. Back in 2002, the DGA awarded him a special honour for his distinguished contributions to the country’s culture and filmmaking.
“While he is no stranger to huge commercial success, he is also the beating heart of independent film,” Glatter continued in her statement this morning. “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.”
Only 35 directors have ever been been on the receiving end of the big award. Its past recipients include Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Miloš Forman and, most recently, Ridley Scott in 2017.
Lee will receive his latest award at the organization’s 74th annual awards ceremony March 12, alongside the year’s other winners. The 2022 film nominees will be announced January 27, with the television, commercials and documentary nominees coming one day before.