This bit of trivia made me rub my eyes, and not just because both of my children have pink eye right now. When Spike Lee was nominated for Best Director, and his movie BlacKkKlansman was nominated for Best Picture this morning by the Academy Awards, it was the first time Lee had been honored in either category in his entire career.

How is that possible?!?

I don’t know, but it is. Here’s the totality of Lee’s history at the Oscars, via his IMDb page:

Here are just a few of the times when Spike Lee could have (probably should have) been nominated for before:

  • Do the Right Thing
  • Malcolm X
  • He Got Game
  • Bamboozled
  • 25th Hour
  • Inside Man

And those are just the really exceptional ones; if you want to argue for Summer of Sam or Clockers, I’m not going to stop you.

Better late than never, I suppose. BlacKkKlansman was excellent, and it’s been overshadowed by a lot of other, lesser movies this awards season so it was nice to see the Academy recognize it in six different categories. (In addition to Lee’s nominations, it’s up for Best Score, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay — Lee’s a co-writer as well.) The film came out in the summer, and it’s a genre of movie (cop thriller) that tends to get overlooked by the Academy. At least this one time, the Oscars got it right. The winners of this year’s Academy Awards will be announced on February 24 on ABC.

Gallery — 25 Oscar Winners Every Movie Lover Should See: