Jordan Peele expanded on his poignant onstage speech Sunday after he became the first African American to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his genre-bending social thriller Get Out. “It’s a renaissance,” Peele said backstage at the Dolby Theatre about being part of this new movement in black filmmaking. “I almost never became a director because there was a shortage of role models — there was Spike Lee, (John) Singleton and others.”
He added, “I am so proud to be at the beginning of a movement where the best films in every genre are being bought by my fellow black directors.”
Check out his full backstage comments in the video above.
He points out how the work from him and his peers like Ava DuVernay, F. Gary Gray, Ryan Coogler and others are making this a “special time.”
Get Out was made in 23 days, and Peele points out that he worked out a scrappy group of people — some he said he “shouldn’t be able to afford.” But they put trust into his vision.
“This is an independent film and we sweated for it,” he said. “I felt like a had the privilege of being a pirate captain with a swarthy group of bad asses.”
Peele made history as the first black screenwriter to win for Best Original Screenplay. When asked about the importance of the awards and big accolades he said, “I didn’t know how important it was.” He said the campaign was grueling and he questioned what it was all about, but then he remembers when the nominations came out he said, “I had this feeling of looking at the 12-year-old that had this (win) burning in my gut — for this time of validation. I instantly realized this award is bigger than me.”
Peele said he is using this win and paying it forward to young people because when he was young “I didn’t believe there was a place for me,” he said.
He says that he hopes his win inspires people to use their voices.
“Every obstacle comes as a gift,” he said. Referencing his improv training work, he says every time a brick wall was put up in front of him, it gave him “an opportunity to make a stronger choice than he started with.”