Understandably, Daniel Kaluuya is the one actor from Get Out heaping most of the awards traction. The film is up for Best Picture and he is the film’s center. However, the film has another secret weapon that makes it effective: Its women. While they may not be a focal point in the storyline, the three main actresses use their own distinctive characterizations to aid the film’s seriocomic tone.
For starters, there’s Catherine Keener as Missy Armitage, the hypnotist mother of Rose (Allison Williams) who is welcoming towards her new boyfriend, Chris (Kaluuya). Keener doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time but she does have one key moment where we get an idea of what kind of person Missy is. During the scene where she hypnotizes Chris, forcing him to relive the most painful moment of his life before putting him in the “sunken place,” Kaluuya’s frightened reactions are effective because of how he plays off of Keener’s cold and calculated observations. Also, her shifting vocal patterns and the false sympathy she showcases as she prods Chris’ story out of him while he keeps still make Missy seem like a puppet master and she has him under her strings.
Next, there is Betty Gabriel as Georgina, the housekeeper of the Armitage household trapped in the “sunken place.” Similar to Keener, she has a sparse amount of screen time but with one standout moment. During the famous “No, no, no, no” scene, Gabriel’s constant eye blinking and tears streaming down her face show a woman crying for help. Someone whose body has been taken over yet is still in a dark place where nobody can actually hear her.
Lastly is the actress who has the trickiest part of them all: Allison Williams. As Chris’ girlfriend Rose, Williams nails the difficult task of making the audience believe the romance between the two before it is revealed that (*spoiler alert*) she was a part of the plan to abduct Chris. When the twist does take place, it’s like Rose is a completely different person. Right when Rose finally takes out her car keys is when she takes her mask off. During her big scene where she receives a phone call from Chris’ best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery), Williams’ voice sounds panicky and is all “Oh, my god!” which contrasts her blank, emotionless face. The contradiction that Williams demonstrates is funny in an off-kilter way yet it is still a demonstration of her character’s manipulative nature.
What these women may lack in large screen time they make up for in master class acting. In fact, one reason that some of the film’s scenes have become instantly iconic is because of the work by these actresses and any one of them would be worthy of consideration. Catherine Keener is a scene stealer who hasn’t been Oscar nominated since Capote, Betty Gabriel announced herself as a major breakout, and Allison Williams gives the year’s best villainous turn. (Also, PLEASE don’t buy the Lead campaign for Williams.) We may have a Best Picture contender in Get Out just don’t tell these ladies to do the same when filling out your ballots!