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On Feb. 24, winners will be crowned at the 91st Academy Awards. But before the red carpet is rolled out and envelopes are opened, Entertainment Weekly has inside intel on the 2019 nominees. Keep checking back at this week for spotlights on contenders in all the major categories.

Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace
Total nominations: 6

It took just six words of a pitch for Spike Lee to sign up for BlacKkKlansman: “Black man infiltrates Ku Klux Klan.”

veteran director’s latest film tells the surreal true story of 
Colorado Springs’ first black police officer, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who worked his way into the local chapter of the KKK in the 1970s. But BlacKkKlansman has also found itself part of 
an urgent conversation about racial fractures in present-day America, as Lee draws a direct parallel between the racism that Stallworth encountered and the white-supremacist rally and 
subsequent riot in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

I saw the act of homegrown terrorism in Charlottesville, that was the end 
of the movie,” Lee tells EW. The timeliness of the film is what he believes 
is resonating with Oscar voters and 
the audience overall. “The stars line 
up, and your film’s topical at the exact moment that things are happening. 
People are going to pay attention to it.”

Click here to read EW’s interview with Lee from the morning of the Oscar nominations on his first-ever directing nod.

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