My Favorite Moments in the Best Picture Nominees: Get Out

This has become an annual tradition the day before the Oscars. In order move away all the subjectivity and negativity that happens when figuring out what should win and what’s going to win, I use the day before the ceremony to get away from all of that stuff and celebrate the films that are nominated for Best Picture.

We take this day to look at them as masterworks of cinema and not as films competing for a trophy. All of that other stuff — the analysis, the opinions — that’s all done with. Today, we take a minute, we stop, and we appreciate the films themselves. I count down my five favorite moments (or elements) of each of them.

When you take away all the awards, all the competition, and all the arbitrary decisions about what film is better than the others, what we’re left with is great cinema. That’s what we’re celebrating.

Our next nominee is Get Out.

5. The opening

It’s so simple and brilliant. Because it sets up what the turn/twist of the movie is gonna be, sets a tone, and also immediately reminds you of the Trayvon Martin murder. Black man walking in an affluent white suburb, followed by a white car. The audience is immediately made to feel unsafe. And it’s immediately playing on the difference in racial experience — black people immediately understand and relate to this situation, and women, but in a different way. White people, not as much — but also putting the white people in the audience in these shoes. It’s an absolutely perfect setup for this movie, and only becomes more interesting from there.

4. Rod

Rod is a tricky character. Because he’s the comic relief of a piece that has a lot o darkly funny moments. He runs the risk of seeming wildly over the top and out of place. But LilRel Howery makes it work. It’s hard not to laugh at everything Rod does and says. This moment in particular, talking about how his TSA senses are tingling and how “that bitch is lying!” — hilarious. He also gets the biggest laugh in the movie at the end, which also shows how well the character works. It’s hard to pull off a character like this in a film like this. Props to them.

3. The writing

The script is really layered in metaphors and imagery. I really appreciated all the little things the film does. It slow plays everything, making you aware that things aren’t right, but not letting you in on the full picture until just the right moment. And the moments of unsettling things are just great. Like this one above, or when he talks to the gardener, or the moment he walks upstairs during the party and everyone immediately stops talking once he’s gone and looks up at the ceiling, tracking his every move — it’s great. I also love the little things like Bradley Whitford talking about his father losing to Jesse Owens and “almost” getting over it, and then there’s the moment at night where the gardener is running. This is a movie that rewards second and third viewings, which comes down to tight writing and great storytelling. Plus, in the abstract — the fact that this movie exists alone is a testament to its writing. It’s a really smart concept and a really well-executed film.

2. The Sunken Place

Some of the best imagery I saw this year. It’s hard to depict someone’s subconscious, and the way they do it is visceral and memorable. And it works. I love the little mini TV monitor, of him watching what’s going on outside, which ties into his memory of his mother’s death, and also illustrates everything that’s happening to him in that moment as well. Truly one of the best and most memorable images of 2017.

1. That ending

A testament to how well put together this movie is. The ending happens, blood is spilled, chaos reigns, and then finally, he’s there on the ground, and he’s about to get away… and the sirens come up. Every single person in that audience, in that moment, goes, “Oh fuck.” Because you know this guy is fucked. The police coming up, a bunch of people dead, and a black man choking out a white woman. And then Allison Williams, knowing the (presumed) situation, starts playing the victim, which only makes you feel like he’s even more fucked (while also making you go, “That bitch”). And it only makes the ultimate reveal even more sweet and make you cheer even more when the reality sets in. But man… that moment shows you the power of this film, that every person in that audience went, “Oh no” and immediately presumed what the deal was the second those sirens hit.

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