“You can’t go to awards like the Oscars or the Grammys for validation. The validation is if your work still stands 25 years later.”

Spike Lee, one of the best to direct, caught up with The Daily Beast yesterday; the day that the 87th Academy Awards nominations were revealed.


Apparent in the list of nominations was the snub of Selma director Ava DuVernay. Selma was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Song — seemingly making it a sure candidate for other major categories like Best Director or Best Actor. This didn’t sit well with social media. Almost immediately after nominations were announced, Twitter took off with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, expressing how “white” the picks were.

Nonetheless, as Marlow Stern writes for The Daily Beast, “Lee, who said Selma and Birdman were the two best films he saw last year, seemed annoyed but not surprised.”

“Join the club!” Lee chuckled, before getting serious. “But that doesn’t diminish the film. Nobody’s talking about motherfuckin’ Driving Miss Daisy. That film is not being taught in film schools all across the world like Do the Right Thing is. Nobody’s discussing Driving Miss Motherfuckin’ Daisy. So if I saw Ava today I’d say, ‘You know what? F*ck ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.”

Lee later added:

“Anyone who thinks this year was gonna be like last year is retarded. There were a lot of black folks up there with 12 Years a Slave, Steve [McQueen], Lupita [Nyong’o], Pharrell. It’s in cycles of every 10 years. Once every 10 years or so I get calls from journalists about how people are finally accepting black films. Before last year, it was the year [in 2002] with Halle Berry, Denzel [Washington], and Sidney Poitier. It’s a 10-year cycle. So I don’t start doing backflips when it happens.”

Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)