Even though the film was nominated for four major Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture and Best Director, some longtime Oscar voters still haven’t watched Get Out because they don’t deem it Oscar material.
The news comes courtesy of a recent Vulture interview with new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to assess how they are changing the way the broader organization thinks and operates—that is to say, whom it rewards.
Generally, the 14 new voters Vulture spoke to embraced Get Out, which one subject called “the only masterpiece in the running this year.”
“It feels really good that, in my opinion, the movie of the year in back-to-back years has been made by a black filmmaker showing a view of black life in America that we’ve rarely been allowed to see in mainstream culture, and I really hope this year’s voting reflects that again,” the 30-something voter added.
But that sentiment apparently wasn’t shared by at least some older members of the academy, who, according to some of those interviewed, hadn’t even watched the film, which was not only the most profitable movie of 2017 but also among the most critically acclaimed.
“I had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film,’” said one new voter. “And I’m like, ‘That’s bullshit. Watch it.’ Honestly, a few of them had not even seen it and they were saying it, so dispelling that kind of thing has been super important.”
Unfortunately, that line of thinking is as predictable as it is disheartening. Late last year, Jada Pinkett Smith voiced a similar frustration that the Hollywood Foreign Press didn’t even watch the box-office smash Girls Trip, in which she co-starred, so that it could be considered for Golden Globe nominations.
The film—a departure from mainstream depictions of black trauma—was loved by critics and moviegoers alike.
“We couldn’t get eyes on the film or a press conference,” Pinkett Smith said via Twitter. “How could a nom happen and how much more critical acclaim must a movie have to simply get a screening?”
It’s one thing to disagree with the artistic merits and value of a film, and surely, lovers of movies do all the time. It’s quite a different matter to write off a film wholesale without even watching it—especially when it is literally your job.
At least new one member of the academy, however, believes that the influx of new voters has already affected who gets awards, and could nullify a potential Get Out snub from the old Oscar guard.
“When Moonlight won,” said the voter, “it felt like the new members of the academy, myself included, really had made a difference.”