GET OUT Will Compete as a Comedy at the Golden Globes and WE. JUST. CAN'T. EVEN.
Entertainment Weekly just broke that Jordan Peele’s horror-satire, Get Out, through Blumhouse, will be competing in the Best Comedy/Musical category at the upcoming Golden Globes. Without a doubt this will catch fire throughout the genre community, many decrying the Globes for labeling this clear work of horror fiction under the Comedy category, but not without a modicum of good reason.
Horror, especially over the past decade as the lines between prestige and genre begin to blend, has historically been a much-maligned genre, typically being lumped together with cheap skin flicks and First Blood Part II-esque Rambo action movies. While the cinematic artform has evolved, only select audiences have allowed horror to evolve as well, growing from its primitive cerebral roots to where we are now with it wearing its multilayered social awareness proudly on its sleeve. We always knew it was there, but it’s heartening to see new audiences clueing in to our genre. So seeing clearly the most talked about film of the year, and a horror one to boot, being misrepresented as a comedy feels like a thorn in our side. As if to say, “This was so good that it can’t possibly be labelled horror.”
But here’s the thing, and right out of the gate it must be said for transparency: Get Out competing in the Best Comedy/Musical is the best strategy to maximize the film’s potential during awards season. Clearly the film is more grounded in surreal dramatic realism than its satirical wit, but because the glut of so-called “Award Bait” films that flood the market and push out more nuanced competition, playing on Get Out’s satire will help them garner more nominations. With prestige shoe-in’s for Best Drama like Dunkirk, The Post, Mudbound, Wonderstruck, and the patriarchal masturbatory joint from PTA and DDL, Phantom Thread, the Hollywood Foreign Press’ obligatory dance card may be full before they even remember the little film that took the world by storm.
But when eying the field for Best Comedy/Musical, it’s light to say the least. We expect to see dark comedies like I, Tonya, or the less grim Logan Lucky, and hopefully the record breaking Greta Gerwig coming-of-age tale Lady Bird. But after that? The tepid release of Suburbicon, coupled with a current distaste for anything Matt Damon, seems to be dead on arrival. The larger than life spectacle, The Greatest Showman, starring real-life greatest showman, Hugh Jackman, about real-real-life greatest showman P.T. Barnum will make the cut if only for being the only musical this year that may be good (it would have helped if it was a screen adaptation of Barnum by Cy Coleman). So pitting Get Out against the Comedy/Musical competition really helps narrow their chances of victory on awards night which will not only give visibility to a very important horror movie, but to genre films in general. We are never represented well during awards season, and maybe 2018 will see a change to that.
But if you are upset or nerd raging this afternoon with the thought of hearing “Best Comedy/Musical” and “Get Out” in the same sentence, let’s all just take a deep collective breath and think for a second. These subjective categories are mired in problematic issues to begin with from—the general demographic of the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy Voters to more abstractly how a person can make a clear distinction to why one film can be considered “best” over another. Scream and Shine are both spectacular films released in the same year, and picking apart why Shine was nominated for Best Picture while Scream was not will get you nowhere. Basically: these awards have zero effect on how you personally enjoyed a movie. Until we have done away with the formality of these awards shows, it may be best to take all of this categorization with a grain of salt.
In closing, though, no matter where it falls we should sit back and say congratulations: because if we can have one positive thing to come from the trash fire year that is 2017, it’s that our much loved genre is finally getting its just desserts.