‘I’d Never Seen My Fears as an African-American Man Onscreen’

Around 2014, five years after he first began kicking the idea around, Mr. Peele started working on a script and brought it up with the producer Sean McKittrick (“Donnie Darko”), hedging all the way. He recalled telling Mr. McKittrick that it was his favorite movie that had never been made, and probably would never get made, and that he understood why. But Mr. McKittrick surprised Mr. Peele by telling him that he was on board.

Three years later, in February 2017, the movie opened just as the racist ugliness attending the election of Donald J. Trump dashed lingering Obama-era delusions that America was a post-racial place. And Mr. Peele’s worries about the movie’s reception were knocked down like pins.

Mr. Peele had fretted that the film’s skewering of white people might set off boycotts, but instead “Get Out” proved to be medicine that audiences didn’t realize they needed, and worldwide they made a $254 million hit out of Mr. Peele’s $4.5 million dream. (He believes there might have been protests had the film taken aim at white conservatives rather than white liberals.)

Now, to Mr. Peele’s delight and surprise, Hollywood prize givers are showering the movie with love.


Lakeith Stanfield, left, and Daniel Kaluuya in “Get Out.”

Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures

At the Gotham Awards, Mr. Peele won best breakthrough director, best screenplay and the audience award. The National Board of Review named the film best ensemble picture and one of the year’s Top 10, while Mr. Peele took best directorial debut. The New York Film Critics Circle awarded it best first film. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association named it best screenplay.

Still, the fact that “Get Out” did not win the top awards left some die-hard fans dissatisfied, including Julia Turner, the editor in chief of Slate, who is anxious that Oscar voters may not give the film what she sees as its due. “‘Get Out’ is 2017’s best picture, and it should be 2017’s Best Picture,” she wrote. “When was the last time a popular cinematic masterpiece had something important and topical to say about the world?”

Either way, this kind of awards attention is unusual for a picture that could easily be pigeonholed as comedy or horror, genres that have a history of falling flat with the august members of the Academy of Motion…

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