The Academy Awards has long been considered the gold standard for those in the film industry, but a war of wills between the old guard and new is brewing over the nominations of Jordan Peele’s Get Out. According to a new report from Vulture, some older voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that determine how Oscars are won are shunning the horror film from votes by refusing to watch it.
One new voter in the acting branch was heartened that Get Out lead Daniel Kaluuya earned a nomination. “A weird, genre-defying horror-comedy with a social commentary about racism could’ve been terribly polarizing to voters,” he said, “but they recognized his great performance that absolutely carried the film and held it together from beginning to end.” Several members mentioned how well the Get Out awards campaign was run, with splashy ads declaring it the movie of the moment. “Good on Universal for really stepping up because it all starts with the studio — what they decide to green-light, what they put their money behind — and they did their job with Get Out,” said one voter.
That’s all the more important because some of our new members say they ran into interference from an older, more traditional wing of the Academy when it came to evaluating Peele’s movie. “I had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film,’” said one new voter. “And I’m like, ‘That’s bullsh*t. Watch it.’ Honestly, a few of them had not even seen it and they were saying it, so dispelling that kind of thing has been super important.” Said another new Oscar voter, herself a veteran of awards-season campaigns, “I think Get Out is a movie that we wouldn’t have necessarily thought of as an Academy movie two years ago. It doesn’t really fall into any of the boxes that we think these movies do. It came out in February, and that’s almost never worked for Academy … it actually is provocative. It questions everything. It’s brilliant.”
Get Out is up for four nominations, including Peele as Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya, a heady feat for a director essentially new to the game.
Of course, the Academy has its reasons for doing things and there does seem to be a push for diverse voices and figures in this year’s coming awards ceremony. However, the alleged resistance to Peele’s brilliant film signals that the Oscars might still have a race and identity problem.
The 90th Annual Academy Awards airs this Sunday, May 4, at 8PM ET.