Golden Globes struggles to ‘Get Out’ of old labels

Jordan Peele's 2017 film

Jordan Peele's 2017 film "Get Out" was controversially listed in the comedy/musical category for the 2018 Golden Globe nominations, despite its serious subject matter of racism

From “Lady Bird” starring Saoirse Ronan breaking the record for most positive Rotten Tomatoes reviews to the remake of Stephen King’s “IT” becoming the largest opening for a horror movie ever, 2017 was a monumental year for film.  

Another critically acclaimed film of 2017, “Get Out,” follows the story of a black man named Chris visiting the family of his white girlfriend Rose for the first time. Odd behavior and a diabolical plot twist ensue. Because of these elements, the film was marketed and released as a horror movie from Universal Studios.

The movie received rave reviews, from the New York Times calling the film “exhilaratingly smart and scary” to the Washington Post placing “Get Out” in the category of “horror films shot through with brutal wit and sharp-eyed allegory.” Regardless, the film is nominated for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and people are wondering why.

It is understandable at first glance why the film could be roped in with the comedies and musicals at the Golden Globes. Peele is most known for his work in the comedy genre, famous for his Comedy Central show “Key and Peele” alongside Keegan-Michael Key. He’s also starred in children’s films like “Storks” and “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”

The issue is still the fact that “Get Out” was never intended to be a comedy, let alone a musical. Peele himself even indirectly spoke out about the nomination, tweeting, “‘Get Out’ is a documentary.” Another star of the movie, Lil Rel Howery, also tweeted in reply to the nomination: “But if I can be honest this is weird to me… Their [sic] is nothing funny about racism… Was it that unrealistic lol.

As far as the general public can speculate, the logic is that “Get Out” would never win in the correct category, Best Motion Picture – Drama; putting the film with comedies and musicals will give it the best chance of winning and gain popularity for indie films, which is what the movie started as. However, the fact that a story about the stigma surrounding black people can be labelled as a comedy or musical is possibly the most troubling part of this topic.

This miscategorization of the film is also bringing to light how often the incorrect classification of films occurs at award shows. This year at the Golden Globes alone, not only is “Get Out” tagged as a comedy/musical, but “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a movie in the comedy genre, is nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

“It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real,” Peele said in a statement to Deadline.

This small topic goes hand in hand with a larger issue in society: why is racist comedy laughed at just as much as works about true racism? Simply put, those who are not minorities may have a difficult time understanding the effects of racism in their own communities. However, the outrage over the incorrect nomination of “Get Out” may be enough to finally start a dialogue about racism nationwide, not just in cinema.