In lieu of the Oscars being this past weekend, and finally bringing the awards season to a close, there were reports circulating online about the film Get Out. In an interview on Vulture with 14 voters a part of the Academy, an anonymous voter said that they “had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film.’” In another interview with The Hollywood Reporter, another anonymous Oscar voter said the following: “what bothered me afterwards was that instead of focusing on the fact that this was an entertaining little horror movie that made quite a bit of money, they started trying to suggest it had deeper meaning than it does, and, as far as I’m concerned, they played the race card, and that really turned me off.”
Honestly, whichever opinion you have about the film, whether you liked it or not, it’s ridiculous to have completely shunned the film because it didn’t fit the “Best Picture” formula. To completely boycott the film, and to say it “played” the race card is kind of like saying that Shape of Water played the “love card.”
Yes, Get Out played the race card.of course it did, the central theme of the entire film is race. There is no avoiding it. The film took race and gave you a horror film that wasn’t shock scares, or dangerous freaky demons with looks that haunted you. It used reality to scare its audience and bring the viewers to an understanding of what it means to live as an African-American today where racism is embedded into systems and language.
It also was reported that individuals who made these claims didn’t even watch the film. Okay, it’s enough to completely discredit the film because of the so-called “race card,” but to make an assumption about a whole film without even watching it, and making bold claims about it, is completely unfair to the filmmakers who dedicated their mind and work to the film.
Get Out was a film that I personally believe did bring something fresh to the genre of horror films. Whether a film is horror, drama, comedy, or other, it does not matter. The core of judging a film’s Best Picture worthiness should be whether it delivers a good story that impacts an audience. In years past, and especially this year, that is what these films have done to its audiences. When I went to go see Get Out there were people frightened and standing up to leave the theatre. The film elicited a reaction that I have never seen in a theatre before. People were literally moved and affected. A discussion was created about the point of view of an African-American individual in a society where racism flows everywhere. Get Out is a film that understands the current African-American experience and brings you into the perspective of that experience.
Regardless of whichever accolades it will receive, it’s a completely disrespectful and frankly downright inappropriate to say a film is not “Oscar worthy” or “plays the race card,” without even viewing it or giving it a chance.
I truly do believe that filmmakers trust their audiences. A great film does trusts its audience to dissect and understand various themes without having to explicitly explain it to them. Get Out was a film that relied heavily on its audience to understand its themes.
It comes back to the belief that we all fail at being open-minded at times. Whether it’s about film or anything else in life, it is imperative that we remain open-minded and stay critical, so that we can grow and be respectful to one another. We can have different views. However, ultimately different views rely on the respect to at least understand an opposing view. That’s why I have an issue with Oscar voters claiming that Get Out is not Oscar-worthy or pulls the “race card,” because it feels that there wasn’t even an attempt to understand the themes of the film or even just the film itself—which does it a disservice.
It is a film about race that is a discussion that needs to be happening right now. Racism is a long way away from being squashed, and this film gives everyone a perspective that lets its audience empathize with the African-American experience, even partly. To be completely shunned or not even viewed by the elite purely based on race is part of the problem the minorities continue to face as they push their way into the industry. This is what deters diverse voices being included. Get Out has and will continue to stand the test of time, and will show these anonymous voters who make blind claims, that it is time to be diverse and inclusive on screen and behind the camera—something Jordan Peele has wonderfully done.