Acclaimed Filmmaker and NYU Professor Spike Lee Nominated for Three Oscars Including Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay

Spike Lee
Spike Lee. Photo Credit: Marc Baptiste

Seven alumni from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts (TSOA) will be competing this Sunday, February 24, 2019, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its winners for the 91st Annual Academy Awards.

Renowned filmmaker Spike Lee (TSOA ’82, HON ’98), artistic director and NYU Professor at Tisch’s Graduate Film program, earned his first Oscar nomination for Directing, becoming the sixth black filmmaker ever to be nominated in this category. Lee also received nominations for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay for his film BlacKkKlansman. Fellow filmmaker Kevin Willmott (TSOA) also was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Lee's film BlackKklansman.

For her performance in A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga (TSOA) earned two Oscar nominations and made history as the first person ever to be nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Song in the same year.

Grad Acting alumnus Mahershala Ali (TSOA ’00) is in contention to win his second Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Green Book. In 2017, Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar for his performance in Moonlight.

Oscar winner Joel Cohen (TSOA ’78) earned his 15th Oscar nomination, this time for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay are Tisch alumni Nicole Holofcener (TSOA ’84) and Jeff Whitty (TSOA ’97) for the film Can You Ever Forgive Me? This is the first Oscar nomination for both.

The Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET.

Below is the full list of NYU-related Oscar nominees:

Best Picture

Spike Lee ’82 (MFA, Kanbar, Film & TV)/ '98 (Honorary), Producer

Actress in a Leading Role

Lady Gaga (Drama), A Star Is Born

Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali ’00 (MFA, Acting), Green Book


Spike Lee ’82 (MFA, Kanbar, Film & TV)/ '98 (Honorary), BlacKkKlansman

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Joel Coen ’78 (BFA, Kanbar, Film & TV)


Spike Lee ’82 (MFA, Kanbar, Film & TV)/ '98 (Honorary)
Kevin Willmott (Dramatic Writing)

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Nicole Holofcener ’84 (BFA, Kanbar, Film & TV)
Jeff Whitty ’97 (MFA, Acting)

Music (Original Song)

“Shallow” from A Star Is Born
Lady Gaga (Drama), Songwriter

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Cheryl Feliciano
Cheryl Feliciano
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