Oscar Directors: Peele, Jordan–Background, Career, Awards (Black)

September 24, 2020

Jordan Peele Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:


Social Class:

Race/Ethnicity: black

Family: mother white; father black

Formal Education: Sarah Lawrence College. dropped out after 2 years

Training: Five seasons on Mad TV

First Film:


First Oscar Nomination:

Gap between First Film and First Nom:

Other Oscars:

Other Oscar Nominations:

Oscar Awards:

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties):


Last Film:


Career Length:

Career Output:




Jordan Haworth Peele (born February 21, 1979) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He is best known for his television and film work in the comedy and horror genres.

Peele’s breakout role came in 2003 when he was hired as a cast member on the Fox sketch comedy series Mad TV, where he spent five seasons, leaving the show in 2008. In the following years, he and his frequent Mad TV collaborator, Keegan-Michael Key, created and starred in their own Comedy Central sketch comedy series Key & Peele (2012–2015). In 2014, they appeared together as FBI agents in the first season of FX’s anthology series Fargo.[3] Peele co-created the TBS comedy series The Last O.G. (2018–present) and the YouTube Premium comedy series Weird City (2019). He has also served as the host and producer of the CBS All Access revival of the anthology series The Twilight Zone (2019–present).

Peele and Key wrote, produced, and starred in Keanu (2016) and Peele has voice acted in Storks (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) and Toy Story 4 (2019). His 2017 directorial debut, the horror film Get Out, was a critical and box office success.[4] He received numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. He received another Academy Award nomination for Best Picture for producing Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman (2018). He directed, wrote, and produced the acclaimed horror film Us (2019).

In 2017, Peele was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.

Jordan Haworth Peele was born in New York City on February 21, 1979. His mother, Lucinda Williams, is white and his father, Hayward Peele, is black. He was raised by his single mother on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He attended the Computer School in Manhattan, graduated from The Calhoun School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and went on to Sarah Lawrence College. After two years, Peele dropped out to form a comedy duo with college roommate and future Key & Peele writer Rebecca Drysdale.

Hwe regularly performed at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and The Second City in Chicago. He and Nicole Parker were well known for their musical duets at Boom Chicago. He portrayed a popular character called “Danish Supermodel Ute” during his time at Boom Chicago and hosted MTV’s Comedy Weekend in 2002.

In 2003, Peele joined the cast of Mad TV for its ninth season. Around the time Keegan-Michael Key joined the cast as a featured performer, it was assumed that Key would be chosen over Peele. The two of them ultimately were cast together after showing great comedic chemistry. Peele performed celebrity impersonations, which included favorites Caroll Spinney (as the voice of Big Bird from Sesame Street), Ja Rule, James Brown, Flavor Flav, Justin Guarini, Montel Williams, Morgan Freeman, Timbaland, and Forest Whitaker. Peele was absent from the first four episodes of his second season on Mad TV. He made a cameo in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s video “White & Nerdy” with Mad TV co-star Keegan-Michael Key.

Peele was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award for his song “Sad Fitty Cent”, a music video parody about 50 Cent lamenting over his rivalry with Kanye West. The lyrics were, according to the music video, written by Peele, and he was involved in arranging its music. In 2009 he appeared in Little Fockers.

Peele appeared in a viral video titled “Hillary vs Obama” (which was shown as a Mad TV sketch) where he and a Hillary Clinton supporter (played by short-term cast member Lisa Donovan) argue over whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would make a better president, only to get upstaged by a Rudy Giuliani supporter (played by Donovan’s brother, Ben).

Peele auditioned to be a castmember for Saturday Night Live when SNL producers were looking for someone to play Barack Obama (around the time when SNL and Mad TV — and other scripted shows — were put on hiatus due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike). Peele remained at Mad TV and the role went to Fred Armisen until September 2012, when Jay Pharoah took over the role.

After five seasons on Mad TV, Peele left the cast at the end of the 13th season.

In 2010, Peele co-starred in the Fox comedy pilot The Station, and appeared with a recurring role in the Adult Swim series Childrens Hospital. He had a supporting role in the David Wain-directed comedy Wanderlust, which was released in 2012.

Peele and his former Mad TV castmate and friend Keegan-Michael Key starred in their own Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele, from 2012 to 2015.[13][14] The series was a success with viewers, and spawned several skits and videos that went viral online.[15]

In 2014, Peele played an FBI agent in the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo, based on the 1996 film of the same name.[3]

In 2016, Peele starred in and produced, with Key, the first feature film in which the two both had leading roles, Keanu (they had previously both appeared in Wanderlust).[16] The film received generally favorable reviews from critics.[17]

2017–present: Success as a filmmaker
In February 2017, Peele’s first film as director, Get Out, was released to critical acclaim, eventually scoring a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[18] The film received particular praise for Peele’s screenplay and direction, as well as the performance of its lead, Daniel Kaluuya,[19] and was chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year.[20][21][22] The Atlantic called the film “a masterpiece.”[23]

Get Out proved to be popular with movie audiences, and it eventually became one of the most profitable horror films, and films of 2017, and grossed over $255 million on a budget of $4.5 million.[4][24] For his work on the film, Peele received significant attention,[25] as well as numerous accolades, including the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards.[26]

The film also received four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay nominations for Peele, as well as a Best Actor nomination for Kaluuya.[27] Peele won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay,[28][29] becoming the first black screenwriter to win in this category.[30] He became the third person, after Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks, to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for a debut film, and the first black person to receive them for any one film. Get Out also earned him the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as nominations for a Directors Guild of America Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.[26]

In early 2018 Peele announced his intention to retire from acting, stating in an interview with CBS “Acting is just nowhere near as fun for me as directing”.[31] In 2018, Peele co-created the TBS comedy series The Last O.G., starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish.[32] Also in 2018, Peele co-produced the Spike Lee film, BlacKkKlansman which was released to critical acclaim and was a box office success. The film received six nominations at the 91st Academy Awards including the Best Picture nomination for Peele.

On June 28, 2018, it was announced that YouTube Premium will release Weird City, which is co-created by Peele and Charlie Sanders. The show was released on February 13, 2019 to critical acclaim.[33] On April 5, 2018, it was announced that Amazon Video had given a series order to the docuseries Lorena consisting of four episodes. The series was set to be directed by Joshua Rofé who would also executive produce alongside Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Steven J. Berger, Jenna Santoianni, and Tom Lesinski. Production companies involved with the series include Monkeypaw Productions, Sonar Entertainment, and Number 19. It ultimately premiered on February 15, 2019.

Peele’s second film as director was Us, a horror-thriller film which he also wrote and produced, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. After having its world premiere on March 8, the film was released in the United States on March 22, 2019 by Universal Pictures, Monkeypaw Productions, and QC Entertainment.[38] Peele developed and is narrator for the science fiction web television series The Twilight Zone, the third revival of the original 1959-64 anthology series that aired on CBS, for CBS All Access. The show premiered on April 1, 2019, with Peele, Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez as executive producers.[39] In February 2020, Peele produced a 10 episode series about hunting down Nazis called Hunters.[40][41][42] Peele produced the HBO series Lovecraft Country written by Underground co-creator Misha Green.On November 3, 2015, it was reported that Henry Selick is developing Wendell and Wild, a new stop-motion feature with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key based on an original story by Selick.[44] In March 2018, the film was picked up by Netflix.[45] There have been developments of several films based on Peele’s sketch comedy series Key & Peele. In March 2015, it was announced that Key will reprise the role of Mr. Garvey in a feature-length film Substitute Teacher with Peele portraying a rival teacher.[46] In March 2017 in a Reddit AMA, Peele expressed interest in developing a film around his Key & Peele character Wendell Sanders based on the music video “The Power of Wings”. The film, titled Wendell Meets Middle-Earth, would follow Wendell’s existence in the fantasy world that he likes to see his life in.[47]

In September 2018, it was announced Peele was in talks to produce a remake of Candyman, through his Monkeypaw Productions,[48] of which Candyman star Tony Todd stated in a 2018 interview with Nightmare on Film Street, “I’d rather have him do it, someone with intelligence, who’s going to be thoughtful and dig into the whole racial makeup of who Candyman is and why he existed in the first place.”[49] In November 2018, it was confirmed that Peele will produce the film with Universal and MGM and will partner with Win Rosenfeld to co-produce the film, while Nia DaCosta will sign on as director.[50] The new Candyman will serve as a “spiritual sequel”, taking place back in the new gentrified Cabrini Green, where the old housing projects development once stood in Chicago. The theatrical release is set for 2021.[51]

In February 2017, Peele curated the Brooklyn Academy of Music film series “The Art of the Social Thriller”, comprising 12 films that inspired the making of Get Out, including the horror films Rosemary’s Baby, Night of the Living Dead, The Shining, Candyman, The People Under the Stairs, Scream, The Silence of the Lambs, Funny Games, Misery, the thrillers Rear Window and The ‘Burbs, and the 1967 racial comedy-drama Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

As a comedian, Peele counts among his influences In Living Color, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle.[53] He also has listed Steve Martin and Martin Lawrence as arguably his two biggest influences.[54]

Personal life
Through his mother, Lucinda Williams, Peele is descended from the colonial Woodhull Family, whose prominent members include brigadier general Nathaniel Woodhull and Culper Ring Spy Abraham Woodhull (first cousin, 8 times removed).

Peele began dating Chelsea Peretti in 2013.  They became engaged in November 2015, and Peretti announced in April 2016 that she and Peele had eloped. They have a son named Beaumont (born July 1, 2017).


2008 Boner Boyz! Yes No No No D-Rock Peppers Short film
2010 3B Yes No No No Rob Short film
Little Fockers Yes No No No EMT
2012 Wanderlust Yes No No No Rodney
2013 The Sidekick Yes No No No Sidecar Willy Short film
2016 Keanu Yes No Yes Yes Rell, Oil Dresden
Storks Yes No No No Beta Wolf (voice)
2017 Get Out Yes Yes Yes Yes Wounded Deer, UNCF Narrator (voices)[60]

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Yes No No No Melvin Sneedly (voice)
2018 BlacKkKlansman No No No Yes N/A

2019 Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror Yes No No No Himself[61][62] Documentary film

Us Yes Yes Yes Yes Dying Rabbit, Fun House Narrator (voices)[63]
Toy Story 4 Yes No No No Bunny (voice)
2021 Candyman No No Yes Yes N/A Upcoming
Abruptio Yes No No No Danny Post-production
Wendell and Wild Yes No Yes Yes Wendell Sanders (voice) Post-production


2003–2008 Mad TV Yes No Yes No Various 94 episodes
2008 Chocolate News Yes No No No Kelvin Melvin 7 episodes
2009 Reno 911! Yes No No No Three-Card Monte Guy Episode: “Extradition to Thailand”
2009–2010 SuperNews! Yes No No No Various Voices 15 episodes
2010–2015 Childrens Hospital Yes No No No Dr. Brian 10 episodes
2011 Love Bites Yes No No No Eli Episode: “Too Much Information”
2012–2015 Key & Peele Yes No Yes Yes Himself, Various 54 episodes; also co-creator
2013 The Mindy Project Yes No No No Nick Episode: “Mindy’s Minute”
Workaholics Yes No No No Mark Episode: “The Worst Generation”
Comedy Bang! Bang! Yes No No No Tan Fu Episode: “Andy Samberg Wears a Plaid Shirt & Glasses”
Axe Cop Yes No No No Super Axe (voice) Episode: “Super Axe”
Modern Family Yes No No No Derrick Episode: “A Fair to Remember”
2013–2014 Kroll Show Yes No No No Ref Rondy, Various 2 episodes
2014–2016 Bob’s Burgers Yes No No No Various Voices 8 episodes
2014 Fargo Yes No No No Special Agent Webb Pepper 4 episodes
Drunk History Yes No No No Percy Julian Episode: “Montgomery, AL”
Robot Chicken Yes No No No Various Voices 2 episodes
2015 Life in Pieces Yes No No No Chad 3 episodes
Rick and Morty Yes No No No Second Fourth-Dimensional Being (voice) Episode: “A Rickle in Time”
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Yes No No No Alan 3 episodes
TripTank Yes No No No Various Voices 2 episodes
2015, 2018 SuperMansion Yes No No No Bugula (voice) 2 episodes
2016 The Muppets Yes No No No Himself Episode: “Swine Song”
American Dad! Yes No No No Street Thug (voice) Episode: “Criss-Cross Applesauce: The Ballad of Billy Jesusworth”
2017–present Big Mouth Yes No No No The Ghost of Duke Ellington, Various Voices 31 episodes
2018–present The Last O.G. No No Yes Yes N/A 20 episodes; also co-creator
2018 The Shivering Truth Yes No No No Various Voices Episode: “Ogled Inklings”
2019 Weird City No No Yes Yes N/A 6 episodes; also co-creator
Lorena No No No Yes N/A 4 episodes
2019–present The Twilight Zone Yes No Yes Yes Host / Narrator 20 episodes
2020–present Hunters No No No Yes N/A 10 episodes
2020–present Lovecraft Country No No No Yes N/A
Music videos
Year Title Actor Director Writer Producer Role Artist
2006 “White & Nerdy” Yes No No No Black Gangster “Weird Al” Yankovic