On Sunday, Feb. 24, Spike Lee celebrated 30 years in the movie industry by winning his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlackKKKlansmen. If you were listening to the star's acceptance speech, you might be wondering: Why was Spike Lee bleeped at the 2019 Oscars? Here's what he said.
Lee, who was up against filmmakers for If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, got a standing ovation as a visibly excited Samuel L. Jackson announced that the director and producer would be winning his very first non-honorary Oscar that evening. Lee is also up for Best Director for BlackKKKlansmen, a political film that stars John David Washington and Adam Driver and tells the story of the first black officer to work for the Colorado Springs Police who infiltrated the KKK.
It was a momentous honor for Lee, who's been in Hollywood for 30 years now and has numerous film credits under his belt, and he was so excited that he jumped into Jackson's when he got on stage. He then addressed the audience and the Academy with a speech about the history of racism and slavery, as well as well as a call to action ahead of the 2020 election.
As he began his speech, Lee hinted that it was about to be a long one as he was bleeped while joking, "Do not turn that m*therf*cking clock on." He then went on to talk about when Africans were first brought over to the United States as slaves in 1619. He finished off his speech with a call towards the future.
"Let's all mobilize, let's all be on the right side of history," he concluded his speech, referencing the 2020 presidential election. "Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing." The audience gave Lee — who was dressed in a purple suit playing homage to the late Prince — a standing ovation as he left the stage.
Lee has previously been snubbed by the Academy and only garnered nominations for Best Screenplay for Do The Right Thing in 1990 as well as a Best Documentary Feature for 1998's 4 Little Girls. In 2015, the longtime filmmaker was awarded an honorary Oscar for his work as a "champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers."
Many fans took to Twitter to congratulate Lee on his well-deserved win as well as to comment on Lee and Jackson's bromance moment. Considering that Jackson's first movie was the Lee film "School Daze," it was extra meaningful that he was the one presenting Lee with his very first Oscar win.
If you were watching and noticed a seven-second delay at the beginning of Lee's speech, several viewers also cleared up what he said when he was bleeped.
Lee was also nominated for the Best Director category, while "BlackKKKlansman" received nods for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Music Score, so it sounds like there will be a lot to celebrate at the Oscars after-parties.