Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar Tapped for Toronto Film Festival Awards

Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar Tapped for Toronto Film Festival Awards

Celebrated directors Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee will be honored at at the fifth annual TIFF Tribute Awards on Sept. 10, during the 2023 Toronto Film Festival, organizers said on Thursday.

Spanish auteur Almodóvar will receive the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media, while the Do the Right Thing and Da 5 Bloods filmmaker Lee will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel gala.

Toronto tips its marquee awards show as an awards-season bellwether, as past honorees include Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Chastain, Roger Deakins, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi and Chloé Zhao.

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Almodóvar has been among the most successful European directors since his 1988 melodrama Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown won the best young film honor at the inaugural European Film Awards and went on to art house success worldwide. He has won five more European Film honors, as well as five BAFTAs, four French Cesar awards and two Oscars. The Oscars were in the best foreign language film category for All About My Mother in 1999 and in the best screenplay category for Talk to Her in 2002.

“Pedro has been coming to TIFF for years and each time is better than the time before. His artistic vision, bold storytelling, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of cinema have had a profound impact on cinema,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a statement.

Lee, whose prolific run of films that he has both written and directed began with 1983’s Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, has penned screenplays for films including She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, School Daze, Malcolm X, Red Hook Summer, Chi-RaqBlacKkKlansman and Da 5 Bloods, all of which he also directed. He has been nominated for five Oscars and in 2019 won best adapted screenplay alongside Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott for BlacKkKlansman.

In 2015, he became the youngest person to receive an honorary Academy Award for career achievement. His first Writers Guild Award nomination came in 2019 with BlacKkKlansman. “A foremost storyteller of our era, Spike’s body of work from She’s Gotta Have it, to Do the Right Thing to Mo’ Better Blues, to his most recent film at TIFF 2021, American Utopia, Spike has inspired audiences and made a lasting impact on the art of filmmaking,” Bailey added in tribute to Lee.

The 48th annual Toronto Film Festival, set to run from Sept. 7 to 17, will make additional announcements on gala honorees for the TIFF Tribute Awards in the coming weeks.