Chaplin Award Gala

Film at Lincoln Center’s Annual Gala began in 1972 and honored Charlie Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin, and has honored many of the film industry’s most notable talents. The Chaplin Award Gala is Film at Lincoln Center’s most significant fundraising event, helping to support the organization’s ongoing work to enhance the awareness, accessibility, and understanding of the art of cinema.

Explore the history of the Chaplin Award Gala in a new interactive timeline.

Film at Lincoln Center kicked off its 50th anniversary with a special gala on April 29, 2019. Reflecting and building upon the organization’s half-century introducing New York audiences to many of the industry’s most acclaimed and important filmmakers—including Pedro Almodóvar, Jane Campion, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Lucrecia Martel, Dee Rees, Steven Spielberg, and Agnès Varda, to name but a few—the 50th Anniversary Gala honored Film at Lincoln Center’s legendary past and vibrant present, and look ahead as we extend our commitment to the film community.

The Chaplin Award Gala will return in 2021 as we honor Spike Lee, who has left an indelible mark on filmmaking and television. His career spans 30 years and includes She’s Gotta Have ItSchool Daze, Do the Right ThingMo’ Better BluesJungle FeverMalcolm XCrooklynClockersGirl 6Get on the BusHe Got GameSummer of SamBamboozled25th Hour, She Hate MeInside ManMiracle at St. AnnaRed Hook SummerOldboyChi-Raq, BlacKkKlansman–which won him the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and his first Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay–and Da 5 Bloods. Lee was previously a two-time Oscar nominee (Do the Right Thing for Best Original Screenplay and 4 Little Girls for Best Documentary Feature), and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2015 for his lifetime achievement and contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences. See more information here.

Chaplin Award Gala Honorees:

2021 Spike Lee
2019 50th Anniversary Gala
2018 Helen Mirren
2017 Robert De Niro
2016 Morgan Freeman
2015 Robert Redford
2014 Rob Reiner
2013 Barbra Streisand
2012 Catherine Deneuve
2011 Sidney Poitier
2010 Michael Douglas
2009 Tom Hanks
2008 Meryl Streep
2007 Diane Keaton
2006 Jessica Lange
2005 Dustin Hoffman
2004 Michael Caine
2003 Susan Sarandon
2002 Francis Ford Coppola
2001 Jane Fonda
2000 Al Pacino
1999 Mike Nichols
1998 Martin Scorsese
1997 Sean Connery
1996 Clint Eastwood
1995 Shirley MacLaine
1994 Robert Altman
1993 Jack Lemmon
1992 Gregory Peck
1991 Audrey Hepburn
1990 James Stewart
1989 Bette Davis
1988 Yves Montand
1987 Alec Guinness
1986 Elizabeth Taylor
1985 Federico Fellini
1984 Claudette Colbert
1983 Laurence Olivier
1982 Billy Wilder
1981 Barbara Stanwyck
1980 John Huston
1979 Bob Hope
1978 George Cukor
1975 Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman
1974 Alfred Hitchcock
1973 Fred Astaire
1972 Charles Chaplin