My vote is for Spike. Picture and director.
I do not have a vote among the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences illuminati. But nonetheless.
With his directorial skills at their apex, Spike addresses America’s first sin, as yet unatoned; and our enduring shame, still denied, with humor, respect, authenticity, cinematic brilliance and Terence Blanchard’s amazing score.
The timing of this Lee joint is not lost on the viewer and he draws the obvious connections between the 70’s Klan and Duke and Trump’s MAGA with an unflinching, deft, sometimes gently comical but deadly serious hand.
The parallel scenes of Duke and the Colorado Springs Klan morons watching Griffith’s cinematically seminal but racist Birth of a Nation while the Springs Black Student Union does the same with Harry Belafonte sitting in a chair identical to the one pictured in the iconic image of Huey Newton with a spear and a rifle is worth the admission ticket and a bucket of popcorn.
The final ten minutes is pure message. You’d need to be a manhole cover or a MAGA’n to miss it.
Lee dismisses any fears that he appear an “angry black man” and reflects us back to ourselves calmly and with perspective, but with an unmistakable point-of-view.
Spike is who we need today, willing to look at America and not turn away, willing to keep the wound open until it can truly heal, willing to call a racist a racist.
The old white hegemony is cornered, exposed, laid bare and lashing out. It may get worse but by god, it’s time for it to die.
I love Spike Lee.
Time to listen to Nina Simone.