Awards Season is in second gear and there doesn’t seem to be a night or afternoon that goes by without some event or special screening. This past week alone Warner Bros.’ brought out the kids from “It” for a deserved “don’t forget to give us some love” Q&A; Fox Searchlight had their annual holiday party with Guilermo del Toro and Martin McDonaugh on hand; Searchlight also hosted the LA premiere of “The Shape of Water” at the Academy; STX saved AFI Fest’s collective you know what by replacing “All The Money In The World” as the closing night film with a “tribute” to “Molly’s Game” director and scribe Aaron Sorkin; and Showtime had their own holiday fete with notable names such as Kevin Bacon and recent Emmy winner Lena Waithe (whose new show “The Chi” drops on the network in Jan.). And that’s not counting all the guild screenings filling every screening room in town. On Friday night, Universal found a way to break through the Oscar chatter with an impressive screening, reception and gallery installation for Jordan Peele’s“Get Out.”
Appropriately held at the Lombardi House in Hollywood, the event featured original artwork that the studio had collected from both fans and notable artists. It goes without saying the installation was beyond impressive. The art inspired by the film was often spectacular and wasn’t limited to print or paintings. There were some powerful multimedia creations such as the one captured and embedded on this post (click on the image to see the animation). Moreover, the work speaks to how much the social commentary of “Get Out” has resonated with many who have seen it not just in the U.S., but around the world.
I spoke to star Daniel Kaluuya who told me he already had a friend requesting prints of some of the works (although who was going to get those made neither of us could answer). Kaluuya has had an absolutely incredible year. He admitted that everything that could have happened with “Get Out” – originally seen by Universal as just a small horror thriller with a safe $4.5 million budget – is what you “dream” about. Still one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, “Get Out” has grossed a stunning $254 million worldwide and made Peele one of the most sought after filmmakers in Hollywood (Universal smartly snagged his next movie). The role helped Kaluuya land a key role in Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” and another in Steve McQueen‘s follow up to “12 Years A Slave,” the ensemble thriller “Widows” alongside Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez,Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon, among others. Moreover, Kaluuya knows this “Get Out” ride is far from over. Is a SAG ensemble nomination in his future? Possibly. Will be able to say he starred in a film nominated for Best Picture? I absolutely wouldn’t bet against it.
Earlier this week there was a ton of online “controversy” over whether “Get Out” was correctly categorized by a comedy for Golden Globes purposes (it’s not the first movie to go through this journey with the HFPA), but in the end it allowed Peele to make a statement which, in many ways, exemplifies why the film will resonate beyond Oscar night.
“The most rewarding part of making “Get Out” is the conversations the film has inspired.
When I originally heard the idea of placing it in the comedy category it didn’t register to me as an issue. I missed it. There’s no category for social thriller. So what? I moved on.
I made this movie for the loyal black horror fans who have been underrepresented for years. When people began standing up for my voice, it meant a lot. “Get Out” doesn’t just belong to me any more, now it belongs to everyone.
The reason for the visceral response to this movie being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously. It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call “Get Out” horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.”
Beyond Peele and Kaluuya, other notable names on hand included Allison Williams and Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley. Check out some more images from the event below.