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Get Out and Call Me by Your Name were the big winners at Monday night’s Gotham independent film awards, with Jordan Peele’s racially themed horror movie and the coming-of-age romance, starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, picking up three and two awards, respectively.
Before the awards were handed out, Get Out producer Jason Blum, who was honored during the ceremony, explained how the film, which Peele wrote during the Obama administration to prove that racism wasn’t over despite the U.S. having a black president, is resonating more and more with audiences given the current political climate.
“Unfortunately, the past year or two have only proven [Peele] more right than I bet even he imagined,” Blum told The Hollywood Reporter.
Similarly, star Daniel Kaluuya said that in the past nine months since the film was released, “I feel like the stuff that Jordan was articulating as simmering below the surface is coming to the forefront of people’s minds.”
And the horror film isn’t the only awards hopeful to illuminate modern-day racial issues, with Dee Rees’ Mudbound, about black and white families of farmers and their interactions in the Mississippi Delta during and after World War II, illustrating, as co-writer Virgil Williams put it, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
“The KKK is marching unmasked,” Williams said about the present parallels. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a long, long way to go. What’s so cool about this movie, I think, and what drew me to the movie is it connects to now because it’s a pure piece of America. A 100 percent pure and honest piece of America — the best of it and the worst of it. It gives us a window and a look into who we were, and in doing that, it gives us a look at who we are and in doing that, it hopefully gives us an opportunity to decide who we want to be.”
The Netflix film received a special jury award for ensemble performance, given to actors Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan and Jonathan Banks.
For the team who worked on best feature-winner Call Me by Your Name, its success is a reward for past struggles and provides hope for fans that director Luca Guadagnino’s idea of making a sequel, or multiple sequels, to the indie film can pan out.
Producer Peter Spears recalled the emotional roller coaster of the decade he spent trying to get the movie made.
“We could only shoot the movie in the summer, and every summer we’d be lined up on the runway ready to do it and a castmember or a director, something would fall apart and we’d lose another year,” Spears said. “Maybe it happened the way it was supposed to happen and the movie that was made was the movie that was supposed to get made. And I’m so happy it did, but yeah, it was seasonal. It became like seasonal [affective] disorder, my depression, like ‘Oh no, the movie’s not happening this year.’ And then the joy of thinking we did have it together sometime in the winter when we started preproduction. As soon as Luca was able to dedicate himself as a director to this, as opposed to a producer, it came together in a realer way than it ever had before, and I knew then that we were on a very different path.”
Now Guadagnino is eager to continue to tell the stories of Elio (Chalamet) and Oliver (Hammer) and the other characters.
“Why not try to think of a chronicle of these sentimental people through life? How wonderful it could be to grow up all together and in growing up, growing into the skin of these characters,” Guadagnino told THR. “I think Call Me by Your Name is a movie about the first love and how you become a young man through the first powerful, impactful experience you feel. But in life I think you have many things that happen to you that can change you or can make you another person. So what about seeing Elio becoming a man? What about Oliver and Elio meeting again? Where and why and how? … I want to see these stories.”
Chalamet told THR that he’d be “absolutely game” for a sequel and joked that he would sign on even if he wasn’t able to act in it.
“I would operate a boom mic on a Luca Guadagnino movie if he asked me,” he said. “If I could act in it, that would be cool too.”
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