Surprise, Surprise: Some Academy Voters Have Pretty Racist Opinions About Get Out
As the night of the Oscars approaches, a number of publications have been interviewing new and old voters of the Academy for the inside scoop on their individual ballots. The interviews have been anonymous, and while we can’t conclude much about the general attitudes of 7,258 members from a few individual ballots, the racist nonsense that some of them have been saying about Get Out is … horribly unsurprising.
First, on a more hopeful note, Vulture interviewed some newer Academy members who felt that their votes really were moving the needle, saying things like, “When Moonlight won, it felt like the new members of the Academy, myself included, really had made a difference.”
However, some of those new voters also had disappointing conversations with their peers. One new voter told Vulture, “I had multiple conversations [about Get Out] with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s bullshit. 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.”
Now, I know it’s hard for the voters to see everything on the slate, but they had not even seen it? And they were saying it wasn’t “an Oscar film”?
Meanwhile, over at The Hollywood Reporter, an anonymous female Academy member explained how she narrowed down her Best Picture nominee to The Shape of Water. As she went down the list, she explained why she eliminated Get Out. “It’s a good B-movie and I enjoyed it, but what bothered me afterwards was that instead of focusing on the fact that this was an entertaining little horror movie that made quite a bit of money, they started trying to suggest it had deeper meaning than it does, and, as far as I’m concerned, they played the race card, and that really turned me off.”
“In fact,” she continued, “at one of the luncheons, the lead actor [Daniel Kaluuya], who is not from the United States [he’s British], was giving us a lecture on racism in America and how black lives matter, and I thought, ‘What does this have to do with Get Out? They’re trying to make me think that if I don’t vote for this movie, I’m a racist.’ I was really offended. That sealed it for me.”
And later in the interview, she again brought up the “B-movie” designation when deciding her choice for Best Original Screenplay. “I thought Get Out was a B-movie,” she said. “I used to watch B-movies on Saturday afternoons and they were great — a lot of fun. I think this guy [Jordan Peele] saw Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and thought he would turn it into a horror movie, with white people as the villains, because horror movies make money, and it sure did.”
The idea that someone would make a movie like Get Out “because horror movies make money,” and not because they genuinely had something to say, is frankly insulting and ridiculous. Did we even watch the same movie?
Obviously, the Oscars race is very subjective, and there are tons of deserving movies and creatives who don’t get the nomination or the win. Academy voters have some incredibly difficult choices to make in the major categories this year, and Get Out is by no means the only or most obvious choice. Choosing another film as your favorite isn’t racist. However, declining to vote for it because you think it “played the race card” or believe it “was not an Oscar film” despite never seeing it? That sounds pretty damn racist.
Three years after #OscarsSoWhite, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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