Peele's work on the social horror film Get Out, which tackles racism in America, has been a game-changer.
Peele is just the fifth Black director to get an Oscar nomination. Previous nominees were John Singleton, Lee Daniels, Steve McQueen and Barry Jenkins. (As you may have noticed, the previous nominees have all been men - Ava DuVernay was noticeably snubbed for her work on Selma in 2015.)
Today, Peele also became only the third person to receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Screenplay for his debut feature film – and the only to have written an original screenplay.
If Peele wins Best Director, he will be the first Black director to do so.
Peele took to Twitter to express his delight at being nominated, and to congratulate his lead actor, Daniel Kaluuya, for getting a nomination for Best Actor.
“I just spoke to Daniel. You know when you’re on the phone trying to disguise the sound of an ugly cry? I failed at that.” He continued, “Right now I’m just thinking about everyone who bought a ticket and told someone else to. You did this. Thank you.”
Speaking to press, Peele spoke of the importance of having people of colour represented and celebrated in the film industry.
The director said, “I realize in sort of receiving this honour that it's not all about me. For me, what makes it particularly magical is the idea that there might be young people of color who may doubt themselves and what they can do in the industry. I'm getting emotional now. I was inspired by Whoopi Goldberg winning her Oscar. And sort of paying it forward to the next generation, the idea that people could be inspired, is crazy."
He was also happy that Get Out, a social horror film that addresses racism in America, has started so many conversations and been received so well by audiences.
"People need to have help talking about these things," he says. "Get Out is a piece of entertainment, but it's also a cry for justice."