Film at Lincoln Center is pleased to announce the 46th Chaplin Award Gala honoring Academy Award–winner Spike Lee. Postponed last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tribute is now rescheduled for Thursday, September 9 at Alice Tully Hall. The Chaplin Award Gala is the most important fundraising event of the year for Film at Lincoln Center, and all proceeds benefit the organization in its mission to support the art and craft of cinema. The event will be a joyful celebration of Spike Lee’s vibrant filmography, featuring a career-spanning conversation with the director and more to be announced.

Reserve your seats now! 

“We are proud to present Spike Lee with the Chaplin Award, a much-deserved honor and a long-overdue celebration,” said FLC Executive Director Lesli Klainberg. “It’s hard to conceive of the New York film community without Spike. For four decades he has been making films that speak to our vibrant city and to the larger world, and his work remains as vital as ever.”

In advance of the gala, Film at Lincoln Center is presenting free outdoor screenings of some of Lee’s beloved films: Mo’ Better Blues on Governors Island August 6 and Do the Right Thing in Damrosch Park on August 10. 

Spike Lee has left an undeniable mark on filmmaking and television. His career spans 40 years and includes Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (ND/NF 1983),  She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers, Girl 6, Get on the Bus, He Got Game, Summer of Sam, Bamboozled, 25th Hour, She Hate Me, Inside Man, Miracle at St. Anna, Red Hook Summer, Oldboy, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Chi-Raq, BlacKkKlansman—which won him the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and his first Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay—and most recently, 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; he was also nominated for directing and co-producing BlacKkKlansman. Most recently, he was Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special for his work on HBO’s American Utopia (NYFF58).

Lee’s outstanding feature documentary work includes If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, a follow-up to his triple-Emmy-winning HBO mosaic When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and the Peabody-winning A Huey P. Newton Story. Lee recently completed a two-season run as co-writer, co-producer, and director of the 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 firm 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 short films 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. 

Film at Lincoln Center gives special thanks to the 46th Chaplin Award Gala Co-Chairs: Susannah Gray and John Lyons, Susan and John Hess, Tara Kelleher and Roy Zuckerberg, Imelda and Peter Sobiloff, Daniel and Nanna Stern, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee.

Gala tickets are on sale now. Tribute-only tickets range in price from $100 – $750 and may be purchased here. You can secure premium seating at the Chaplin Award Gala Tribute by purchasing Gala Dinner and Tribute tickets, starting at $2,500. Dinner and Tribute Seats may be purchased by contacting us at [email protected]. All proceeds from the Chaplin Award Gala benefit Film at Lincoln Center’s programs and activities as a nonprofit organization. 

The Chaplin Award Gala will adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with state and city medical experts. Visit for more information.

For information about attending the gala, please contact [email protected]. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Liz Gardner at [email protected] or call (212) 671-4559.