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Get Out continues to celebrate a successful award season after taking home the Academy Award for best original screenplay Sunday night.
The film beat fellow nominees The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh).
Feeling humbled to win his first Oscar, Peele explained the doubts he had while writing the film. “This means so much to me. I stopped writing this movie 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie,” Peele said during his acceptance speech. “But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it.”
Peele then acknowledged the praise the film has received from audiences, thanking those who helped “raise my voice and let me make this movie.”
The award also made Peele the first African-American winner in his category.
The low-budget horror film earned $255 million worldwide and has dominated awards season, receiving nominations for this year’s Golden Globe and SAG awards and netting wins at the Critics’ Choice Award and, most recently, wins for best director and best feature during Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Backstage, Peele added that Whoopi Goldberg was a “huge inspiration.” “When I got nominated she was one of the first people I called.”
“I almost never became a director because there was such a shortage of role models,” he continued. “I am so proud to be a part of a time that’s the beginning of a movement, where I feel like the best films of every genre are being brought to me by black directors.”
He also teased the possibility of a sequel. “I often joke that if there’s a Get Out 2, it will take place at an awards show, and it might look something like this,” he joked backstage. “What’s been the most beautiful part has been meeting heroes. … It’s moments like getting to meet Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola. … These are moments that are priceless.”
Though created to pay homage to Peele’s favorite film genre, the director has made history with his cultural statement film, his debut motion picture. Peele is the third person in history to be nominated for best directing, best original screenplay and best picture all for their directorial debut, following Warren Beatty for Heaven Can Wait and James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment. Peele is also the fourth African-American ever to earn a best director nomination, and the fifth black person (Brit Steve McQueen was nominated for 12 Years a Slave).
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