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Get Out Breaks Box Office Record for Black Filmmakers, Stirs Oscar Talk

Marshall Flores brings the news that Get Out, with a box office take of $162 million, is now the highest grossing film ever for a black director, in addition to already being the highest grossing directorial debut ever. And word of mouth is only growing. Though it’s still quite early in the year, it isn’t unheard of for a movie to truck along and stay afloat through to the end of the year.

After spending many years acting with longtime comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key, first on Mad TV and most recently on Comedy Central’s Key and Peele (one of the greatest sketch comedy shows of all time), Jordan Peele made the leap from TV to film last year with writing the screenplay for Keanu. Now in his directorial debut, Peele has created a zeitgeist hit with just a $5 million budget – an incisive, funny, and darkly subversive Rorschachian allegory on the current state of race relations in America that tonally evokes the work of Ira Levin and Shirley Jackson.

In addition to its stellar box office performance, Get Out is a massive critical success, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%. It literally has one negative review (from everyone’s favorite contrarian curmudgeon, Armond White).

We put Get Out in the screenplay category, where it has the best shot, but we’ll go ahead and put it in the contender tracker for Best Picture and Director.

Mark Harris’ tweet above caused a bit of a stir in Oscar land, with Anne Thompson offering up the cautionary voice and Erik Anderson following suit, saying screenplay is the best bet (as we already knew).

However, we can sometimes limit a film’s chances and our overall consideration of awards material, so-called, if we put up roadblocks. We all want to be right and I know as I type this that this piece will be met with “no way.” That’s how the game is played but honestly, the game itself is somewhat broken.

As we learned LAST year, the Academy’s change of membership has caused an evolution in the ranks. That evolution means we Oscar watchers must similarly adjust our expectations and predictions. We’re right and we’re wrong but shutting something down this early does nothing good for anyone, including the prognosticator. After all, what is the benefit there? It seems to me that if a movie is good enough people will remember it, especially if it still resonates by year’s end, which this might. After almost 20 years in the business and a really unpredictable end to the year last year, it’s time to rethink the game.