How Hollywood is sleeping on the movie about being “Woke”

Movie poster for Get Out.
Photo credit: Youtube

While black America was gushing over Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit movie “Get Out” and its message about systematic racism and social consciousness, Hollywood had other thoughts. The cultural phenomenon is competing as a comedy, rather than a drama, at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

The motion picture awards featured at the Golden Globes include: Best Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actor/Actress (Drama, Musical or Comedy), Best Director, and of course Best Motion Picture (Drama, Musical or Comedy), among others.

Although the film had a few comedic moments and was directed by Peele, former actor on the comedy sketch show MadTV and his own comedy show Key and Peele along with Keegan Michael Key, his film’s message is far from laughable. Beneath the drama and few laughs, lie a subliminal message: be aware, or ‘stay woke.’

The movie was culturally important as it was released during arguably the most politically charged moment in recent history – as well as during a time where it seemed like cries for justice in African-American communities were ignored.

Leah Hunter, who has a doctorate in Mass Communications Studies, has been a professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Design at Florida A&M University since 2014. She believes “Get Out” was positively impactful for black culture.

“This movie, along with ‘Girls Trip,’ ‘Moonlight,’ and others has challenged the notion in Hollywood that movies starring, directing and produced by African Americans will not make money,” Hunter said. “This is so important, because it has helped to open the door for future projects for people of color.”

What may be more shocking than “Get Out” competing as a comedy at the Golden Globes may be the fact that, according to The Guardian, its producer, Blumhouse Productions, and studio, Universal Studios, submitted it as such.

Peele released a statement via Deadline in response to the uproar about the submission, with his focus highlighting the idea that the movie can be a “force for change” and that people realize, “it’s our truth."

Among those who feel like the film’s comedy submission is a slap in the face to African-American culture is Rhianna Salters, 20, and a nursing student at Tallahassee Community College.

“I think it’s an insult because even today, black people are still treated like property, especially in sports, and for people to see it as a joke is an issue,” said Salters. “It’s like the slave mentality: steal the mind, keep the body. Mentally, they don’t think we’re fit to attend PWIs, but physically, they want us for their sports and to bring money into their institutions, and that’s not okay. It’s not a joke.”

“Get Out” is not the only black movie that is not properly being acknowledged at a film award platform. Historically, black movies and actors/actresses have been, in a sense, disrespected at such events.

A prime example of that is how Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” was not even nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, although there are many critics who argue that it was the best movie of the ‘80s. Instead, “Driving Miss Daisy” won the award that year.

In more recent years, #OscarsSoWhite took over social media by storm, in response to the Oscar’s lack of diversity.

Lamar Seymore, 22, and a political science student at FAMU believes that in order for black films to receive proper respects, black people must start supporting black films.

“We should stop watching bootleg movies and start supporting box office movies. Instead of resorting to cheaper ways to watch movies, we need to put that same effort and money into supporting them,” said Seymore.     

Despite the Golden Globes controversy, Get Out has been nominated for the Best Movie at the 2017 BET Awards, Movie of the Year at the 2017 MTV Awards, and Best Horror at the Golden Trailer Awards, among others.

Nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globes are set to be unveiled Dec. 11, with the awards ceremony airing Jan. 7 live on NBC.