- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2019

Director Spike Lee says political pressure deserves credit when it comes to Hollywood award nominations for films like “BlacKkKlansman” and “Black Panther.”

Activists like April Reign were acknowledged by the director Thursday night for influencing the entertainment industry’s “gatekeepers” this awards season.

Mr. Lee’s comments came at the Icon Mann gala in Beverly Hills.

“[Former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Ms. Reign] are the reason why we got nominations … they are responsible for all these black folks getting nominations,” he said, The Hollywood Reporter noted. “Gatekeepers decide what films they’re making and what films they’re not making and if we’re not in the room we don’t got a voice. If we’re not in the room it can be a drought, a feast to famine.

Mr. Lee was on hand to accept a Legacy Award for his creative resume.

“BlacKkKlansman” is up for six Academy Awards nominations for the following categories: Original Score; Best Picture; Directing; Adapted Screenplay; Actor in a Supporting Role; and Film editing.

“Black Panther” by director Ryan Coogler is vying for top honors for the following categories as well: Best Picture; Best Original Music Score; Best Sound Mixing; Best Original Song; Best Costume Design; Best Production Design; and Best Sound Editing.

“We want this to be a continuation where we get our work out, we show it to the world and we demonstrate that black folks are not one monolithic group,” Mr. Lee added. “We look different, think different, talk different, dress different.”

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