After the 90th Academy Awards aired, many viewers were shocked that 'The Shape of Water' won the Oscar for Best Picture. Even though the film was received well, 'Get Out' was seen as the clear winner by many moviegoers. Its depiction of racism through the use of horror was brilliant and left its fans wanting the film to be honored by receiving the most coveted award of the night. However, that same fearless portrayal of racism caused some Academy voters to not consider it for Best Picture.
'Get Out' struck a chord with thousands of people because of how it was able to combine the stereotypes and prejudice that black people constantly face with a fictitious plot. Even though most of the events that happened to Chris Washington, the main character of the film, are not realistic, what the events symbolize is not uncommon. Some Academy voters were made uncomfortable by 'Get Out' for that very reason.
One voter spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about the film and completely belittled it because of the underlying message about racism. The voter said:
“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.”
Clearly, this person completely missed the entire point of 'Get Out' if the only thing they got from it was that it was an “entertaining little horror movie.” The film was meticulously made so that while on the surface it appeared to be a normal horror film, it was actually showing the audience how the seemingly harmless comments and opinions that the white characters would make towards the black main character are actually forms of racism. 'Get Out' putting a spotlight on racism does not mean that the film was “playing the race card.” The cast and crew were using the film as a way to express that racism still exists and that many white people help perpetuate it every single day.
'Get Out' should be commended, not penalized, for encouraging dialogue about racism through the film. The Academy voter that spoke to the Hollywood Reporter was especially upset about how Daniel Kaluuya, the lead actor, was speaking about how black lives matter while talking about the film. The voter explained:
“‘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.”
It is unfortunate that 'Get Out' lost a vote for Best Picture because of how it pointed out the racism that is ignored in our society. The film was executed phenomenally, and I believe that it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture. It impacted the public in a way that the other nominees did not, but not everyone was ready to reflect on their own actions in regards to racism.