Jordan Peele on Oscar win: Whoopi Goldberg inspired me to make movies

The 'Get Out' director reaches back to give thanks

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This year, awards shows have embraced the “representation matters” idea, and no story illuminates that more than the unexpected connection that Jordan Peele revealed he had to another African-American Oscar winner.

Sunday night, the Get Out writer and director made history by becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay — which he says he owes largely to the inspiration he received from Whoopi Goldberg.


“I almost never became a director because there was such a shortage of role models,” Peele, 39, told press backstage at the 90th Academy Awards. “We had Spike [Lee], we had John Singleton, we had the [Van] Peebleses, we had the Hughes brothers, but they felt like the exception to the rule.”

“I’m so proud to be a part of a time, the beginning of a movement where I feel like the best films in every genre are being brought to me by my fellow Black directors,” he continued. “It’s very special and I think that goes for all areas of inclusion. But it’s quite clear with the work that Ava [DuVernay’s] doing, that Ryan [Coogler’s] doing, F. Gary Gray, Barry [Jenkins] … this is a very special time.”

He then credited Goldberg’s 1991 Oscar win for giving him the final push he needed to get into Hollywood. He was only 12 years old at the time.

“Whoopi Goldberg, in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Ghost,’ was a huge inspiration to me,” Peele gushed. “When I got nominated, one of the first things I did was reach out and call her and thank her for telling young people who maybe doubted themselves that they could do it. This is about paying it forward to the young people who might not believe that they could achieve the highest honor in whatever craft they want to push for.”

To further illustrate his deep gratitude he also posted this sweet message to the actress via Twitter.