On Monday came the announcement that Jordan Peele‘s directorial debut Get Out would be competing in the Comedy/Musical category for 2018’s Golden Globe Awards. Since then, the Internet has been divided on the classification. Some believe that the label undermines the film’s undeniably poignant commentary on race relations in America, while others see it as a strategic step for the film to have a better chance at winning some awards.
This is the point that seems to be getting lost in translation — that it wasn’t the Golden Globe Awards that classified Get Out under the Comedy/Musical category, but rather Universal Pictures (the film’s distributor) and Blumhouse Productions (the film’s production company) submitting the movie for that category so it has less to worry about in regards to competition.
This isn’t the first time this has occurred. Last year science fiction film The Martian received Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and Best Actor (Music or Comedy) after being submitted under the category. The intent for this isn’t just so a film can receive a Golden Globe, but to also garner and maintain new interest as the film makes its way to other award ceremonies such as the Academy Awards.
“…the Globes aren’t ‘predictors’ for the Oscars, they can influence the Oscars,” Vox‘s Alissa Wilkinson wrote earlier this year. “A surprise win at the Globes, if it pushes enough Academy members to watch or reconsider a film or performance they had forgotten about, could give a film the extra nudge it needs.”
This is arguably what the team behind Get Out is striving for, especially when you consider horror’s absence from Best Picture nominations for the Oscars. Only one horror film has ever received the award — The Silence of the Lambs in 1992. The Exorcist was nominated for the award in 1974 but lost to The Sting. Aside from that, there have been films nominated for Best Picture that experiment with components of the horror genre but were more thriller than anything else: Rebecca, Gaslight, Spellbound, The Sixth Sense and, most recently, Black Swan.
“The academy wants their nominations to contain a complete movie package of ’emotional intensity,'” Horror Film Central’s Derek Dufour wrote in 2015. “They want movies that make an impact…horror, as a whole, delivers shocks first and foremost. And in a weird way, fear is a very shallow type of emotion.”
However, this is part of the allure of Get Out — in its unique blend of horror and satire, the film utilizes the conventions of the former to provide a commentary that does impact the ongoing discussions and perception of racism in this country.