Spike Lee is finally an Oscar winner.
The filmmaker won his first competitive Oscar, for Best Adapted Screenplay, on Sunday night at the 91st Academy Awards. He was honored for co-writing BlacKkKlansman with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. Lee has been nominated five times over the course of his career, stretching back to 1989’s Do the Right Thing. He also received an honorary Oscar in 2016.
Lee received a standing ovation as he made his way to the Oscar stage, stopping to hug presenter Samuel L. Jackson. He then delivered an exuberant speech, thanking his “ancestors who helped build this country” and calling for political action.
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner,” Lee told the audience. “Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love and hate.
“Let’s do the right thing!” he concluded, before adding, “You know I had to get that in there!”
John David Washington stars in BlacKkKlansman as real-life police officer Ron Stallworth, who helped infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in 1970s Colorado. The screenplay is based on Stallworth’s memoir, Black Klansman, and the film is nominated for six Oscars in all, including Best Picture and Best Director.
In the Adapted Screenplay category, BlacKkKlansman beat out The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born.