Why Get Out Was the Most Important Movie of Award Season

It broke all the records.

By Seija Rankin Jan 04, 2018 12:00 PMTags
2018, Golden Globes, Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya

Let's start with the obvious. If you are reading this without having watched Get Out, drop everything and run to your nearest television/iPad/video rental store that is somehow still surviving in 2018 and sit down for a viewing immediately. It is perhaps the most important way you could spend 90-ish minutes. (If you have seen it, but have yet to dive back in for a repeat viewing session, put that on your to-do list). 

It's been almost a calendar year since Jordan Peele's not-quite-horror movie that could hit theaters and the impact of its groundbreaking release is still being felt today. As the 2018 Golden Globes near it opens up the discussion over this past season's movies and let's just say that there isn't a clear favorite. Dunkirk has all the makings of past industry favorite war movies, but no real emotional connection felt by anyone outside the film industry. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received early praise but has been hit with a backlash over its problematic race relations as of late. 

Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name have been widely beloved and there's the almost obscenely unfair pairing of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post, but at this point it's anybody's guess. Of course, bringing home the Best Picture statue isn't the only way to measure the success of a movie—and no matter what happens come Sunday, Get Out takes the top spot in pretty much every measurement. 

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The obvious and most current milestone for the flick is that it's already racking up nominations—and considering it's technically a horror movie, that's quite a feat. Classics like Jaws and Rosemary's Baby have cleaned up during award seasons past, but gold statues are typically reserved for angsty dramas, coming-of-age comedies and the occasional dancing Ryan GoslingGet Out is up for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy and star Daniel Kaluuya (who plays photographer and crazy-white-family-captive Chris) got a Best Actor nod for both the Globes and the SAG Awards. (The entire gang is up for Best Cast as well). 

This would of course be the point in which it would be relevant to mention that director Jordan Peele was majorly snubbed for the Best Director nomination—that category and Best Picture almost always go hand-in-hand because duh—but we're trying to keep things light and positive. 

In that spirit, what Peele has gotten since the release of Get Out is a major rise in his star power. Prior to February, 2017 he was most well known for his work on Key & Peele alongside his friend and frequent collaborator Keegan-Michael Key; the two released feature film Keanu in 2016 which, for the sheer genius of making an entire movie based on a kitten gone missing, wasn't nearly as big of a hit as Peele's first solo venture. 

When news broke that the comedian was going to be writing, directing and producing a horror movie that most frequent response was, huh. The plot of Get Out was kept so hush-hush that it elicited confusion more than anything else; no one quite understood that Peele had put together a groundbreaking, genre-bending statement on the black experience. He's now (practically) a household name and his IMDb page is chock-a-block full of new gigs—in addition to a few top-secret projects he'll be helming CBS' reboot of The Twilight Zone

The film was also the one truly must-see movie of the year, the one that everyone was talking about, the one that you had to watch to avoid feeling completely left out. It built both with word-of-mouth and a record-breaking Rotten Tomatoes score. After opening weekend it earned a coveted 100% certified fresh rating and to this day it sits at a whopping 99%. All of those factors culminated in a very large box office success. 

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2017 was a year marked by, well, flops. By and large, Americans stayed away from the movie theater, opting instead to stay at home watching Netflix or simply staring at their Twitter feeds in disbelief. The industry experienced disappointment after disappointment, with almost all of the tentpole blockbusters failing to bring in the big bucks like they usually do. Except for Get Out. Not only did it surpass its (admittedly kind of low) expectations, but it made a gargantuan profit. 

The entire movie was made for around $4 million and it brought in $33 million during opening weekend. It would go on to pull in almost $200 million and be named as the highest-grossing debut for any filmmaker ever. (To put things in perspective, that record was set by the creators of The Blair Witch Project almost two decades ago). 

But beyond all of the money and nominations and Allison Williams' blue contacts and the funniest TSA agent to ever grace the big screen, Get Out was important for its content. Award season contenders and winners are often movies with a message, but for once this was delivered not in a pandering or preachy way, but in a sneaky, shocking and gut-wrenching manner.

Instead of creating a big-screen think piece about what it's like to be a black person in a white person's world (which he would have been totally justified to do), Jordan Peele delivered his thesis with humor, gore and in a way that would ensure even the wokest citizen left the theater feeling shook. That this statement came from someone previously most well-known for a sketch involving a valet driver who pronounces it "Liam Neesons" was even more perfect. It's the Hollywood come-up combined with a harsh dose of reality—which, after a year like 2017, is the most we can wish for. 

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