As well it should be. Get Out came out in February and we’re closing in on November and it’s still one of the best movies of the year. As it’s still hanging around, and given its box office success, which has kept it in the conversation as we’ve talked about bad box office throughout the summer and into the fall but it stands out as a stunning success, the conversation has naturally turned to Oscar. Starting his award season trek, Jordan Peele appeared at the Film Independent Forum as part of the keynote conversation. He talked Get Out, social thrillers, black perspective, and how he made a movie about race that isn’t divisive, but instead gets EVERYONE rooting for the destruction of a white family.
Get Out comes from Blumhouse Productions, which is run by Jason Blum. We talk a lot about Kevin Feige and how he’s masterminded the unprecedented success of Marvel Studios, and we should talk the same about Jason Blum. He’s figured out how to make and market movies VERY cheaply—Get Out was made for a reported $4.5 million—and his movies almost always please their audience. Horror may not be your bag, but there is an audience for it, and Blum consistently gets them into the theater. And because the price tag is so low, they’re almost all hits (sorry, Jem and the Holograms). In an era when movie after movie tanks, and at least one studio teeters on the brink of doom (Paramount), Blumhouse is a hit factory. And now they might have a real Oscar contender, and it appears Jason Blum isn’t sleeping on the opportunity (unlike Warner Brothers and Creed). Peele is front and center, Get Out is up for awards, and it looks like a real campaign is coming.
In a just world, there would be no question about Get Out’s chances at an Oscar run, but in the real world, it has a big hurdle to overcome, which is its genre. The Oscars are notoriously genre-adverse. Comedies don’t get a fair shake, fantasy films only count when they’re groundbreaking adaptations of beloved classics, and superhero movies are right out. Horror usually pops up in technical categories like sound (Aliens) and makeup (The Fly), and sometimes for acting (Kathy Bates, Misery; Natalie Portman, Black Swan). But sometimes, when a film is a big enough cross-over hit, that can carry it to more serious consideration, like Jaws, which won three Oscars, and Silence of the Lambs, which won five, including Best Picture.
Get Out ought to be considered for Best Picture, especially since this is a year without a masterpiece (so far), but several very good films. Get Out is definitely one of the very good films. And it should also be a Best Director contender, as it’s one of the most deliberate and carefully constructed films this year. Right now, though, its best bet is Best Original Screenplay, which is a category welcoming to first-time nominees, and it’s a good spot for outlier genre films (see also: Recent winner Alex Garland/Ex Machina). And, of course, it’s a film about race in America in a year when that has been a huge, divisive conversation. And yet, Get Out is a crowd-pleasing smash hit. Some Academy members may turn their noses up at a horror film but Get Out is brilliantly conceived, well crafted, socially relevant, and popular. It’s exactly the kind of film the Oscars ought to recognize.