This was another one of those articles we all wanted to write. I think because Get Out affected each of us in a particular way. As I mentioned on Show Your Work, I only watched it recently, but have been thinking about it ever since.
Awards for Get Out started off seeming like a long shot because Jordan Peele came from comedy. Then because horror movies (or ‘social thrillers’ as Peele calls this film) don’t generally get this kind of acclaim, which is one of the reasons why the movie was submitted to the Golden Globes in the ‘Comedy’ category. Then of course the combination of the category, accurate or not, and the subject matter, and the fact that a lot of people knew Jordan Peele as a sketch comedy performer… Get Out was facing an uphill battle.
So the nominations were huge. But to me, this was the most important one of them all.
Because Get Out is a hugely original idea. It sounds far-fetched, maybe alienating, in a pitch, one that could make people defensive. “It’s a satire about how black people experience all-white environments” is a hard sell in Hollywood, which is what’s so scary about the homogeneity of the industry. How many amazing stories aren’t getting told because the powers that be are confused or afraid of them? (Spoiler: many many many. A lot.)
But the script was so skillfully done that it was undeniable. It had to get made. That’s why I think Best Original Screenplay was the most important of all Get Out’s nominations. If this script hadn’t been so good and clear and fascinating and fun and terrifying, it wouldn’t have been green lit. Wouldn’t have attracted a stellar cast. Wouldn’t have been an opportunity for Jordan Peele to direct his own movie, to bring the vision all the way to life. Much as I’m loathe to admit it, there are movies that are more about what’s on the screen than what’s on the page. (My friend, re: the script for 2013’s Gravity: “Yeah, they basically wrote the dialogue in the car on the way to the studio.”)
But Get Out was always going to live or die based on how well the story could appear on the page. Jordan Peele said last night that he quit writing it 20 times—it only exists because he went back to it the 21st. The first black person ever to win Best Original Screenplay. (Every single writer has felt hopeless about a project stuck halfway between your hippocampus and your laptop… but Peele kept going anyway.)
Maybe that’s also why watching his win was so, so satisfying. In every detail. It was in the red-tipped antlers he wore in his lapel:
In the ‘holy sh-t I can’t believe this’ smile Jordan’s trying and failing to contain as he walks backstage:
In the glory of Keegan-Michael Key in the moment Peele wins (look at the height on that jump!):
…And this ‘I told you so’ embrace later on.
Usually Kathleen is the crier among us and I play the cynic. It’s almost impossible to stay unjaded about awards shows after a while. Which means when you’re surprised, the punch in the gut is twice as hard. And great. And no, of course I’m not crying. You are.