Those worried that Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” wouldn’t get love from the Oscars can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The horror film, which has received praise for its performances and thought-provoking take on race in America, received four Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture.
“Right now I’m just thinking about everyone who bought a ticket and told someone else to. You did this,” Peele wrote on Twitter after the news broke. “Thank you.”
It’s true that word of mouth played a part in not only the movie’s performance at the box office – it has grossed over $176 million domestically – but also its sustained popularity.
Movies vying for awards attention typically receive release dates in the last quarter of the calendar year. “Get Out” was released in February 2017.
Speaking to CNN recently, Peele explained that part of “Get Out’s” success came from its ability to put viewers in the shoes of Daniel Kaluuya’s character Chris.
In the film, Kaluuya, who earned a best actor nomination, plays an African-American man whose weekend getaway to meet his white girlfriend’s parents takes a disturbing turn.
“I think the biggest thing ‘Get Out’ taught me about the power of story is that one of the few ways we can promote empathy is by seeing the world through somebody else’s eyes, and that’s what that’s what great story does,” he said. “That’s what a strong protagonist does.”
“Get Out” has received a bevy of honors throughout awards season from various critics’ circles and guilds.
It was also nominated for best motion picture – musical or comedy at the Golden Globes. It’s inclusion in that category, however, was questioned.
By Peele’s own admission, the film in many ways defies categorization.
“It’s a little bit of everything is in there. I wanted to get the cheers, I wanted to get the laughs, the tears and and all of it,” he said, pointing to films like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Stepford Wives,” and “Night of the Living Dead” as his genre inspirations.
“I really looked to a type of film that I call the social thriller…these are movies where humanity and society is the monster,” he said. “But I’m very flattered when people come up to me and [say], ‘Wow, I don’t even know how to describe that movie.’”
Heading into the Oscar nominations, many observers had been hoping to see “Get Out” and other movies by and about persons of color and women receive accolades.
They were not disappointed.
Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” earned five nominations, including best picture and best director. Guillermo del Toro’s “Shape of Water” led nominations, with 13. “Mudbound” writer/director Dee Rees also became the first black woman to receive a best adapted screenplay nomination, and Rachel Morrison became the first woman to receive a best cinematographer nod for her work on that film.
Peele made some history of his own, becoming the first black director to receive nominations in the writing, directing, and producing categories for his first feature film.
Only two other people have accomplished that feat, according to the Academy. Warren Beatty with “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and James L. Brooks with “Terms of Endearment” (1983).
These milestones, while significant, shouldn’t mark the end of the conversation about Hollywood’s need for diversity and inclusion, however.
#OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign cautioned in an interview with CNN on Monday that doing so would be premature.
“When we’re still at the point where we’re pointing out the ‘first’ whatever, there’s still a long ways to go,” she said.