25 years ago, Kim Basinger nervously went off-script and shamed Oscar voters for not including Spike Lee's masterpiece Do the Right Thing in more than two categories (it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor). Thursday, after Selma only secured two Oscar nominations (for Best Picture and Best Original Song), Lee had some advice for the especially-slighted director Ava DuVernay: "Fuck 'em."
Lee elaborated to the Daily Beast:
"[The Selma snub] doesn't diminish the film. Ain't Nobody 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? Fuck ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.'”
And while #OscasrSoWhite was taking off on Twitter after all 20 nominated actors were Caucasian, Lee maintained that this shit is cyclical:
"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."
But then Lee also said, we shouldn't look to the Oscars for any sort of immediate validation, anyway:
"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."
Lee just saw 2014 validate the hell out of Do the Right Thing, with heaps of glowing retrospectives. But to broaden his point on the cyclical nature of societal black acceptance, Lee edited together the killing of Radio Raheem in Do the Right Thing with Eric Garner's plea "I can't breathe" while being arrested by the NYPD. And John Turturro and Michael B. Jordan staged a reading of Do the Right Thing for a Black Friday event in New York City, after not one person was held accountable for Garner's death. And ain't nobody talking about driving around Miss motherfuckin' Daisy.
[via The Daily Beast]