First Black Writer, Jordan Peele, Win Oscar for Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele made history by being the first black nominee for the Oscars’ big three: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. With his Best Original Screenplay win for Get Out, he made history again, becoming the first black writer to win in the category.
“This means so much to me,” Peele said while accepting the award. “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie. But I kept coming back to it, because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it.”
“I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie,” he continued. “To the cast and crew, I love you, thank you so much. My wife, who supported me through this whole process. My mother, who taught me to love even in the face of hate. And to everybody who went and saw this movie. Everybody who bought a ticket, who told somebody to buy a ticket, thank you. I love you for shouting out at the theater, for shouting out at the screen.”
Later, the director tweeted from backstage, writing, “I just won an Oscar. WTF?!?” His wife, Chelsea Peretti, also tweeted a photo of him holding his statuette and envelope.
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) March 5, 2018
Suzanne de Passe became the first black nominee in the field in 1972 for Lady Sings the Blues, followed by Spike Lee in 1989 for Do the Right Thing and John Singleton in 1991 for Boyz n the Hood. (Meanwhile, in Adapted Screenplay, Geoffrey Fletcher, John Ridley and Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney have all won, for Precious, 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight, respectively.)
Get Out was nominated for four Oscars in total this year: Best Picture, Daniel Kaluuya for Best Actor and Peele for both Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. Peele was only the fifth black director to ever be nominated in the directing field.
Peele has had a massive awards season, especially considering he told ET that he “literally thought this was an unproduceable movie, because people seem to be afraid to take race on.” Get Out not only went on to win favor with the Academy, but earned him an Original Screenplay award with the Writers Guild and Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild.
“I’m a very lucky man,” Peele said when Get Out premiered. “I don’t know how it goes up from here.”