The Oscar-nominated writer-director’s were joined at the event by The Big Sick‘s Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, Shape of Water‘s Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, Molly’s Game‘s Aaron Sorkin, and The Imitation Game‘s Graham Moore.
Jordan recently visited the U.C.L.A. students studying his work for Get Out, and shared that Whoopi Goldberg accepting her Oscar for Ghost in 1991 taught him “there’s no ceiling for people like me.”
“I remember internalizing that,” Jordan told the students (via Vanity Fair). “Like, wow, she’s speaking to me, ‘cause this is something I want to do, I feel like I can do. When those nominations came together last week, I realized the awards and the acknowledgment is bigger than me, and bigger than my own personal accomplishment. By seeing my work be recognized this way, there’s a whole generation of people who will be uplifted by that. And that’s why I’m here.”
“I never would’ve made Get Out without the dream, and part of the dream for me was Whoopi, was the Oscars, was realizing that there wasn’t a ceiling for people like me,” Jordan continued, revealing that he cold-called Whoopi after finding out Get Out‘s nominations. “I lost it in the middle of the call, because it’s not something I think about all the time, and part of telling that story was this realization that I have the opportunity to help show others that they can achieve their dream in the same way. She said, ‘Look, thank you, sometimes you put something out there, and you don’t know if someone’s hearing it or not’. It was just one of the best calls I’ve ever had.”