Get Out’s role in the 2018 Oscars? After last year’s envelope-gate and the recent wave of sexual allegations, Hollywood hardly saved face. The world was watching and all eyes were on “Get Out”. After getting snubbed at the Golden Globes, the movie finally got some of the recognition it deserved. If it didn’t win Best Picture- so be it. The Oscars needed “Get Out” more than “Get Out” needed an Oscar.
The clock is ticking in Hollywood. Time Is Up. Tick-tock – for the Weinsteins of the industry. Tick-tock – for the discriminatory pay gaps. Tick-tock for the elitist academies behind the veil of their white, and patriarchal bias. Tick-tock – Or maybe not?
Hollywood’s clock often rings the wrong bells, like a missed alarm, leaving you to dream in “La la Land”, oversleeping until the “Moonlight”. And once you wake up, you can only wish that the next day, you will rise with the sun. So you set your clock again, hoping this time it rings loud in clear, in due time. So you wait – Tick-tock. Tick-tock. And if the bell doesn’t ring at “Get Out” o’clock, it’s time to accept Hollywood’s clock is truly broken. So it does – more like a buzz than a ring – just sound enough to let you know the clock is still ticking.
“Get Out” grossed more than $255 millions at the Box Office. The horror movie, acclaimed by the public, is now a cultural reference. Director Jordan Peele and actor Daniel Kaluuya grounded their cinematic genius with the film. The Oscars recognized them for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The unexpected plot, the mastered delivery, and the social relevance made it worthy of all the acclaims it got. These plaudits were not gracefully granted, but rightfully deserved.
While it was a public’s favorite for Best Picture, the movie scored the Best Screenplay win, out of its four nominations. These nominations were said exceptional – but so was “Get Out”. Arguments that the Academy awards rarely gives accolades to horror movies highlights the social disconnect. Jordan Peele being the first African American winner for Best Screenplay emphasizes the racial gap. Accolades are not enough. Nominations are not enough. It needed a win – and the Academy was kind enough to grace them one. Just one enough to save face.
Black movies matter. They matter when the narrative is not about slavery or civil rights. When they break records at the box office. Even when they are uncomfortable for a white, old, and conservative Academy. They matter simply because they are. And because they matter, they shouldn’t settle for nominations and accolades. They deserve the win. They deserve Best Screenplay, but not only. One win is not a compensatory consolation prize. They deserve enough recognition to be expected for the win, rather than being publicized as an exceptional generosity act of the Academy.
And yes it did win Best Screenplay but what else? The Academy seems to be frozen in time. When (Vulture) reports reveal that some voting members deemed the movie “ not Oscar-worthy” without even seeing it, the issue is inherent. The same standards cannot be continuously applied when the cinematic atmosphere has changed as much as the social reality. The controversy around the film shows how unrepresentative the voting committee is of the actual viewers. With “Get Out”, the Oscars had the opportunity to shift the paradigm of 90 years of obvious bias and elitism.
Thankfully, the win went to the Shape of Water. Another outcast contender, with a surprising plot, that recognizes minorities (dir. Guillermo El Toro and act. Octavia Spencer). Another successful Hollywood attempt at inclusivity.
After all, “Get out” not winning Best Picture doesn’t make it less of a groundbreaking movie. The film had nothing more to prove, but the Academy did. Truth is that the Oscars needed “Get Out”, more than “Get Out” needed them.