Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” has placed him in the Oscar history books. The actor made history, becoming the first black director to receive nominations in the writing, directing, and best picture categories for his directorial debut. The social thriller pushed Peele forward to earn his first Oscar by highlighting race relations in America.
“Get Out” is a genre-bending and its thought-provoking film about race that is scary, satirical, poignant and pointed. In these politically tumultuous times, “Get Out” did exactly what Peele created it to do by putting viewers into the main character’s shoes. When speaking of the film, Peele said:
I think the biggest thing ‘Get Out’ taught me about the power of story is that one of the few ways we can promote story does. That’s what a strong protagonist does.
There is a need for stories that promote empathy and deal with these sort of untold truths and also provide an escape empathy is by seeing the world through somebody else’s eyes, and that’s what I’m committed to doing.
Comedy has long been a venue to help people cope with fear and trauma. Somewhere along the way, it seems America has become so “politically correct” that it has forgotten the true purpose and movies of yesterday possibly would not have tipped the “acceptable” meter in today’s society. The comic said:
It seems to be okay when people make fun of their own cultures, but a lot of people get nervous, however, when it comes to laughing at other people’s culture or perceived weaknesses. That is when we worry that we are being insensitive – that we are being mean. We strive to make fun of everything, but it can be scary. We do not want to lose our audience, but it is our duty to be edgy and make people laugh about the horrors of the day.
Comedy has always been a derivative of tragedy. Its original meaning was simply a dramatic play which was opposite of tragedy. Comedy revolves around people navigating life in hopes of a happier ending. It is not a science, but an art. As such it can be very subjective and void of rules. What may be funny to one person, may appear offensive to another. Comedy is a play on situations and events which is meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed; it loses its “edge” when overly scrutinized.
In the film, Chris Washington, played by Daniel Kaluuya, is nervous about meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time, especially after he learns that she has not told them that he is black. Their awkward behavior, along with the oddness exhibited by their two African-American servants, puts Chris on alert but even so, he is unprepared for the family’s true motivations.
What propelled this movie toward an Oscar is it captures a moment, contains an element of simple truth and is something that people have always known, but are hearing it out loud and seeing it on the big screen. This comedy-infused horror film earned Peele an Oscar by highlighting race relations in America. Congratulations, Jordan Peele!
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
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