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Alice Tully Hall


Spike Lee

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Join us for a special evening on April 27 as we honor the career of Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee.

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“We are delighted to honor Spike Lee, an original and iconic New York filmmaker,” said Ann Tenenbaum, Film at Lincoln Center’s Board Chairwoman. “It is thrilling to welcome his bold voice into the pantheon of artists who have received the Chaplin Award.”

“It’s hard to conceive of the New York film community without Spike Lee,” said FLC Executive Director Lesli Klainberg. “For four decades he has been making challenging films that speak to our vibrant city and to the larger world, and his work remains as vital as ever. We feel lucky to have had a special relationship with Lee at Film at Lincoln Center, showing his very first film at the 1983 New Directors/New Films festival, and welcoming his films to our theaters in the years since. Just last year, coinciding with his appearance on the cover of Film Comment, Lee presented BlacKkKlansman to a sold-out crowd in our Walter Reade Theater. We are honored to pay tribute to this great artist and true cinephile.”

Film at Lincoln Center will also present a selected retrospective of Lee’s films alongside the gala. “Few filmmakers have amassed a body of work as consistently vital, moving, provocative, and uncompromising as that of Spike Lee,” said FLC Director of Programming Dennis Lim. “From his 1983 student film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads to last year’s BlacKkKlansman, his films spare no quarter in capturing American society and the state of race relations. They compel us to look at our country, its culture, and its history anew.”

Spike Lee 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, and his recent hit BlacKkKlansman, which won him the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and his first Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. 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.

Lee’s outstanding feature documentary work includes the double Emmy–winning If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, a follow-up to his HBO documentary film When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and the Peabody-winning A Huey P. Newton Story. Lee recently completed the second season of his Netflix Original Series She’s Gotta Have It, a contemporary update of his classic film. Lee is also known for his legendary Air Jordan TV commercials and marketing campaigns with Michael Jordan for Nike. In 1997, he launched the advertising agency Spike DDB, a fully integrated agency with a focus on trendsetter, cross-cultural, and millennial audiences. In addition to his films, TV series, and commercials, Lee has directed music videos and shorts for artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Public Enemy, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby, Miles Davis, and Anita Baker.

He is a graduate of Morehouse College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he is a tenured Professor of Film and Artistic Director. Lee’s Production Company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks is based in Da Republic of Brooklyn, NY.

The annual gala began in 1972 when it honored Charlie Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the Chaplin Award has been presented to many of the film industry’s most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, and Helen Mirren.

Get tickets here. The Gala seating chart for Alice Tully Hall tribute tickets is available here.

For more than 50 years, Film at Lincoln Center has been committed to supporting the art and craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

All proceeds from the Chaplin Award Gala benefit this nonprofit organization’s programs and activities. These include year-round curated film programming in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and the Walter Reade Theater; live talks and Q&As; initiatives supporting emerging women and people of color in film criticism, filmmaking, and the greater film industry; Film in Education, our in-school visual literacy curriculum and screening series for young film lovers; and our extensive multi-platform content channels.

Chaplin Award Gala Honorees:

2020 Spike Lee
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

Photo by Marc Baptiste.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can secure premium seating at the Chaplin Award Gala by purchasing Gala Dinner + Ceremony tickets. Ceremony-only tickets purchased online will select seats based on best available. You’ll be able to review and approve the seat selection prior to check-out. Tickets are on sale now.

Tribute-only tickets are on sale now. To inquire about securing Dinner and Table Seats in advance, please contact

Tickets start at $200. The annual Chaplin Award Gala is Film at Lincoln Center's most important fundraising event of the year. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization in supporting and sustaining our year-round mission to support the art and elevating the craft of cinema.

Absolutely! Please check out the Gala seating chart for Alice Tully Hall here:

If you purchased tickets online, you will have received a print-at-home ticket. Simply bring this to Alice Tully Hall evening of the Gala. Dinner + Gala tickets can be retrieved from the sunken plaza outside Alice Tully Hall. Additional information will be sent to those attendees.

The evening’s attire is cocktail.

Gala Dinner + Tribute tickets are tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor as to your individual circumstance with regard to tax deductibility. Tribute-only tickets are not tax deductible. For additional information, please contact

Gala Tickets

Purchase tickets here. For more information about attending the Gala, please contact us at or (212) 875-5076.


To explore partnership opportunities, please contact Liz Gardner, Director of Corporate Partnerships, at or (212) 671-4559.