It’s hard to imagine that even a decade ago, most people would have ever anticipated Jordan Peele becoming an acclaimed filmmaker. Peele’s odd path toward directing glory began with his big break in Hollywood as part of the cast of long-running FOX sketch comedy series MadTV, which for quite a long time served as the only real broadcast network competition to NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Peele was a Mad TV cast member from 2003-2008, and while there, met future close collaborator – and best friend – Keegan-Michael Key.
The duo would eventually team-up to create Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, one of the most beloved sketch shows of the modern era, right up there with classics like Chappelle’s Show. Key & Peele would launch the careers of both men into the stratosphere, with the two once again collaborating on the feature film Keanu after their self-titled series ended in 2015. However, post-Keanu, Peele’s journey took a seemingly odd detour, with the noted comedian stepping behind the camera to write and direct the racially-charged horror film Get Out.
Released just last month, Get Out succeeded way beyond most expectations, earning critical raves and – so far – hauling in nearly $140 million worldwide on a modest budget of $4.5 million. This makes Peele the first black director to pass the $100 million mark at the box office with their debut feature. Just when one might think that the wave of accolades earned by Peele and Get Out might be soon to subside, The Wrap reports that CinemaCon – an annual industry gathering held in Las Vegas – has named Peele its Director of the Year.
The 2017 CinemaCon festivities will be held from March 27-30, and will feature presentations from many high-profile studios. CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser released the following statement concerning Peele’s selection for the honor:
“Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker. He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”
At this point, one imagines that Peele must be feeling pretty great about his career prospects, and will likely have his pick of what project to undertake next. Peele has made his love for the horror genre clear, but only time will tell whether he opts to remain within that wheelhouse, or instead try and branch out into a new venue. If Get Out is any indication though, whatever Peele decides to do won’t fail to be interesting.