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Jordan Peele Is Not Laughing About Get Out’s “Comedy” Golden Globe Classification

Get Out

When news broke that Get Out, Jordan Peele’s runaway hit horror movie, would be in the “best motion picture” Golden Globes category for musicals and comedies, rather than drama, the backlash was swift—due in no small part to the movie being an important expression of racial issues. Whether it was ultimately the studio (Universal) or the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or both, whose actions resulted in that categorization, Peele is unamused.

Except, probably, by his own excellent quips on the matter, like tweeting that the movie is, in fact, a documentary. He echoed that sentiment in an appearance on The Late Show, and though he also made some self-deprecating remarks about pretending he had intended some of the clever interpretations brought up to him by students of a Black Horror college class, it’s no doubt his own way of indirectly pointing out that the movie’s themes are no laughing matter.

(By the way, if you watched the interview, here is the Eddie Murphy bit Peele is talking about.)

Additionally, IndieWire reports that, while discussing the Globes category at a lunch event, he said, “Call it what you want, but the movie is an expression of my truth, my experience, the experiences of a lot of black people, and minorities. Anyone who feels like the other. Any conversation that limits what it can be is putting it in a box.”

It seems Peele had no input in the awards submission process for the Globes, but while it was likely a strategic move on Universal’s part to give the movie a better chance at bringing home an award than if it had been placed in the drama category, that’s not a good excuse for the trivialization of what the film actually was. And it is, in itself, an indictment of a movie industry that can’t see the serious value to the themes—themes that those in positions of power in the industry might not understand implicitly—of Get Out just because it’s a horror movie.

It’s that trivialization that Peele objected to in his comments at the event, elaborating, “The major point to identify here is that we don’t want our truth trivialized. The label of comedy is often a trivial thing. The real question is, what are you laughing at? Are you laughing at the horror, the suffering? Are you disregarding what’s real about this project? That’s why I said, yeah—it’s a documentary.”

The narrow type of movie that’s considered dramatic “best picture” material is an ongoing problem on its own, and the trivialization of comedy is often undeserved anyway, but undeserved or not, it’s still very real, and the shortcomings of all that narrow-mindedness are especially glaring in this case.

(via IndieWire, image: Universal)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.