Film director Spike Lee poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
The Directors Guild of America is honoring Spike Lee this weekend during its annual awards show.
The 64-year-old Lee will become the first Black director to receive the guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction.
"Icon. Trailblazer. Visionary. Spike Lee has changed the face of cinema, and there is no single word that encapsulates his significance to the craft of directing," Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said in January. "From his groundbreaking "Do the Right Thing," "BlacKkKlansman" and everything in-between, to his signature ‘double dolly’ shot, Spike is an innovator on so many levels. His bold and passionate storytelling over the past three decades has masterfully entertained as it held a stark mirror to our society and culture."
In the Guild’s 86-year history, just 35 directors have received this lifetime achievement award. Past winners include Steve Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles. The most recent winner was Ridley Scott in 2017.
Lee holds film reels while crouching in front of a poster of his first feature film "She’s Gotta Have It," which was released in 1986. Lee was born in Atlanta and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta and earned a master’s degree in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
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Lee poses for a portrait in Boston in 1989. He was promoting his new movie "Do the Right Thing," which earned him an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
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Lee acts opposite Danny Aiello in "Do the Right Thing." The film, which took on a number of hot-button issues, was a financial and critical success.
Lee stands between Flavor Flav and Chuck D of the rap group Public Enemy as they filmed a video for their song "Fight the Power" in 1989. The song was featured in "Do the Right Thing."Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesBasketball star Michael Jordan receives a statuette from Lee as Jordan’s number was retired by the Chicago Bulls in 1994. Jordan was also receiving a 12-foot statue of himself outside of the United Center. Early in Jordan’s career, Lee appeared with Jordan in many shoe commercials, playing his Mars Blackmon character.Fred Jewell/Pool/APLee uses crutches while on the set of a Nike commercial he directed in 1995. He was recovering from knee surgery. In front of the camera are basketball stars Lisa Leslie, left, and Dawn Staley.Monika Graff/APLee acknowledges applause after receiving an honorary doctorate degree from New York University in 1998. Lee graduated from NYU’s film school and also taught at the school.Mike Segar/ReutersLee speaks to actors who were auditioning for one of his commercials at New York’s Hunter College in 2000.Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images