Writer/director Jordan Peele’s Get Out was one of the sleeper hits of the year, debuting a year ago from Universal Pictures and — with very strong legs — ended up with a $176.5M domestic gross on a budget of around $4.5M; it was one of the most profitable films of 2017. Peele’s nominations this AM marks the first time an African American has been honored with a Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Original Screenplay nominations in one year as well as the third filmmaker ever to get the trifecta of honors for a directorial debut joining Warren Beatty for Heaven Can Wait and James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment.
“What is most meaningful for me, is what kind of impact this will have on artists of color and anyone who feels like the outsider can hopefully see what we did with this film and be encouraged that with hard work that they can achieve their dream — and that they can achieve anything,” Peele told Deadline.
When Deadline informed him about trifecta honors, he said, “I didn’t know that. That’s pretty wild. I didn’t expect all these nominations. I feel an extra piece of pride that we’re talking about a film of this genre — my favorite genre, horror/thriller which is not usually regarded in this way.” For the record, Greta Gerwig who had Picture, Director and Original Screenplay noms previously co-directed a movie before Lady Bird (and did not produce the film).
Another film that comes to mind is The Silence of the Lambs, also released in early, early in the year (also a February) but because the strength of the Jonathan Demme horror/thriller it was also honored with multiple Oscars.
“I’m very honored to be in Jonthan Demme’s company with that sort of distinction,” said Peele. “The biggest thing for me is that I knew there was a void in the conversation and there was a missing piece to my favorite genre. When something is unsaid, to figure out a way to say it. I think that comes from my experience in comedy. My Mother taught me to trust my imagination and love things all things creative and to look at the world with fresh eyes and wonder, but in doing sketch comedy you really realize that the sketches that work are the one we haven’t seen yet.”
Peele was awarded the Stanley Kramer Award by the PGA over the weekend for the film “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.” What he said at the PGA should be revisted here: He explained the sunken place this way: “The sunken place is the system that silences the voice of women, minorities, and of other people…the sunken place is the President who calls athletes sons of bitches for expressing their beliefs on the field and the homeland of our most beautiful immigrants sh*tholes. Every day there is proof that we are in the sunken place.” The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as an inter-racial couple who go to meet the girl’s parents and everything goes upside down. Kaluuya was nominated by SAG for his acting and now this morning for a Best Actor Oscar.
“I’m so happy for Daniel. I think it was one of my most favorite performances of all time. He’s my favorite actor,” said Peele. “The first thing I did was … well, I texted him and he called me and we both sort of blubbered. Actually, I blubbered way more than him. He was bouncing off the walls and I was curled up in a ball.”
Peele also won the National Board of Review award for best directorial debut and was nominated as Best Musical or Comedy which raised eyebrows that Universal, Blumhouse and Peele submitted it in that category. He has also been nominated for his screenplay by the WGA.
Peele said there is no really quick answer to what he is doing next. “My next directing project will be another horror thriller with Universal Pictures. My biggest lithmus is my favorite film is the one that hasn’t been made yet. I want make films that entertain but also say something.”