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Monday 22 July 2019

Barry Jenkins pays tribute to Oscar nominee Spike Lee: He brings me joy

The BlacKkKlansman director is the sixth black filmmaker to be nominated for the directing Oscar.

Barry Jenkins said he was overjoyed to see Spike Lee honoured for his work on BlacKkKlansman (Ian West/PA)
Barry Jenkins said he was overjoyed to see Spike Lee honoured for his work on BlacKkKlansman (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Barry Jenkins has paid tribute to Spike Lee after the veteran filmmaker received his first best director Oscar nomination.

The Moonlight director, who is also among the nominees this year for his adapted screenplay of If Beale Street Could Talk, said he was overjoyed to see the Do The Right Thing director honoured for his work on BlacKkKlansman.

He told the Press Association: “There are just some people who bring me joy and I think Spike brings me joy.

“His enthusiasm at his nomination brought me so much joy because I think for a filmmaker who has given so much to the culture, both in cinema and the culture of blackness all over the world, to see his work recognised in the way that it should was just quite amazing.”

Lee’s previous Oscar nominations were for his screenplay for 1989’s Do The Right Thing and his 1997 documentary 4 Little Girls.

Lee is the sixth black filmmaker to be Oscar-nominated for directing, while Jenkins was the fourth, for his work on best picture winner Moonlight.

He jointly won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney for the film.

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Barry Jenkins (right) and Tarell Alvin McCraney with their screenplay Oscars (Ian West/PA)

No black filmmaker has ever won best director.

Jenkins said he was delighted to be recognised by the Academy again, with a nomination for his screenplay, adapted from James Baldwin’s novel, while star Regina King is nominated in the best supporting actress category and composer Nicholas Britell is nominated for his score.

On nomination day, Jenkins shared a photograph of the notes slipped under his hotel room door, informing him of each nomination and said: “We started it on Moonlight, I just happened to be in Europe whenever the nominations come out and I was so tired and we were in Amsterdam and I was like ‘I don’t want to watch this live, this doesn’t make any sense’ and so I just took a nap and woke up to these notes under the door.

“Then we did the same thing (this year) and it’s wonderful. I like the spread of the nominations, between Nick and his score and Regina and her performance and then Mr Baldwin with the adapted screenplay nomination, which is a really wonderful affirmation of the work we put into the film.”

If Beale Street Could Talk will be released in UK cinemas on February 14.

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