It is safe to say that recent awards show seasons have given us side-eye worthy snubs and flubs. This year will be no different. When the list of nominees for the 2018 Golden Globes was announced this morning, it was clear that Jordan Peele’s Get Out was bamboozled by the Golden Globes. The cinematic mastermind, Peele himself, was robbed of nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Yes, the film is nominated for Best Comedy or Musical and the film’s star Daniel Kaluuya is up for an award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy — but considering the major snubs of Peele, those acknowledgements feel, to me, like a consolation prize. (Although it is worth noting that the film may have been entered into the Comedy category so that Kaluuya could secure a nomination for his incredible performance).
Never has the media been more politically charged than it is right now, and music and film this year were no exception.
So for Get Out’s director and writer to be erased from consideration for major categories is questionable.
And while these Hollywood awards organizations have never played fair, it can’t be denied that receiving a nomination or an award gives a film — and the artists behind them — more clout.
Peele’s film was a juggernaut, earning a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes upon release. It still maintains an impressive 99% after critic Armond White got real mad and stated that the film “exploits racial discomfort.” To date, Get Out is the second highest-earning R-rated movie ever, and has grossed $254,139,418 worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. Beyond the numbers, the majority of critics praised the film for its scary realism and its blend of horror and racial commentary.
So why is the film missing nominations in such significant categories if it had both amazing critical reception and a historic box office performance?
A nod in the Best Comedy or Musical category is not enough. It feels like an insult to me. The movie was made for Black audiences, and it was “funny” to almost everyone except Black audiences. Its plot may have seemed outlandish, but played upon very real moments in many of our lives, as Kaluuya himself explained on HuffPost. The fear of walking while Black in an affluent neighborhood, the fear of an approaching cop car turning you into the latest hashtag — those are not comedy plot devices. That’s our lives.
Peele called the film a documentary in response to the Golden Globes classifying it as a comedy.
He also stated, “When I originally heard the idea of placing it in the comedy category, it didn’t register to me as an issue. I missed it. There’s no category for social thriller. So what? I moved on.” In an interview with This Morning on CBS, Peele pointed out that horror movies and comedies are connected in that, “They’re both about truth.”
While the film may have been read as biting satire or dark comedy, it was revolutionary in its ability to comment on the co-opting of black culture, the objectification of black bodies, and the ways in which modern day racism has manifested.
As far as I’m concerned, Peele and his masterpiece were snubbed because the film is blackity, black, black. Acknowledgement of Get Out, at all, by the Golden Globes serves as admission that the film is in fact worthy of acclaim — but leaving the film out of two significant categories feels like an intentional refusal to acknowledge the realities of race. To not only praise a film where the Black protagonist triumphs in the end over white antagonists, but to also give the film its just dues would have been far too radical. Peele created a film that was a startling reminder of race in 2017, a reality that privileged media institutions would probably rather ignore.
Peele’s snub is problematic because it reminds us that realistic depictions of the Black experience — stories that humanize us — may never be fully accepted into white-centered spaces. And Black creatives can put out work that is as good as, if not better than, the work of their white counterparts and receive half the recognition. If they are recognized at all.