Nope movie explained: the meaning of the Oprah shot

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Nope is the third movie directed by Jordan Peele, released in 2022. After Get Out and Us, Peele proposes us a film slightly different than the others: not really a horror, although the supernatural part remains, but surely a movie that keeps high the focus on black identity and its perspective towards the world. People had many questions about the plot, the ending, and the meaning of the movie: in this article, we will have the critical aspects of the movie explained, and we will explore what the “Oprah shot” means and its importance in the film.

You can find the official trailer for Nope here on Youtube.

Nope: the plot and ending explained

There are many symbols and messages that need to be explained inside Nope. It can look just like an alien movie, where two siblings deal with this extraterrestrial creature they discovered in the sky above their home, but there is much more: there is ambition, will to find realization in society, and a message about how we always spectacularize the world, turning it against us.

In the movie, strange things happen around the ranch owned by the Haywood family. The father died some months earlier, in the movie’s beginning, killed by a coin fallen from the sky, and his children, O.J. and Emerald, will run the ranch. But the horses are often nervous, and O.J. starts believing that an alien entity is present in that area.

Instead of running away or calling the police, they have an idea: they want to capture the alien on film and become famous and rich out of it. This ambition reflects many messages in how Jordan Peele sees society: the black community always feels like an outcast and never stops to find ways to state their position in the world. Every opportunity could be the right one. With that purpose in mind, they install an advanced camera system around their ranch, and later they will even hire a famous direction to have a perfect shot of the alien that they can use to become rich and famous.

As we discover afterward, this will provoke the alien entity. We find out that the “thing” on the clouds is not a spaceship but a living creature that behaves like an animal: if people look at it directly, it feels provoked and reacts violently, eating humans as prey. This is an insight O.J. has as an expert animal trainer: O.J. recognizes the living dignity of the creature and gives it even a name, Jean Jacket. This aspect reconnects with the story of Gordy’s Home, the fictional sitcom we see in the movie, where a chimp, who has been playing in that sitcom for months as the protagonist, one day gets wild and kills all actors in the set, leaving only the kid Jupe alive. A symbol of how nature can react violently if you make a spectacle out of it. Spectacularization is one of the movie’s main contents, as also the opening quote proves: “I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile, and make you a spectacle,” a Bible verse, Nahum 3:6. In this case, the alien creature is seen as an expression of nature, and somehow O.J. tries to respect it.

In the movie ending, the battle with the alien comes to an end: the director Holst is devoured by the alien because of his extreme ambition (he wants to get on camera the closest shot possible), and also the TMZ paparazzo gets killer: both are symbols of the end people deserve if they show greed towards nature. Emerald does her best using a special camera in Jupiter’s Claim and gets the perfect shot of the alien in its final form. O.J. faces the alien directly, looking at it on purpose to save his sister. It’s not clear if he will survive at the movie’s ending: we see an image of him alive, but we are not sure if it’s just a vision Emerald has.

This is the message Nope sends at its ending, and that’s how we can have it explained: nature deserves respect, or it will turn against us. Those who have been greedy, using nature for their gain, will die: that’s what happens to Jupe (who creates Jupiter’s Claim to provoke the aliens as entertainment for people), Holst, and the paparazzo. Emerald will survive thanks to O.J., the only one who really respects the alien.

What’s the meaning of the “Oprah shot”?

There is an expression used by Emerald when she finds out about the alien: she intends to have it on film and wants to achieve the “Oprah shot,” which becomes the primary goal that motivates their actions until the end of the movie. It’s a new expression, so people wonder what’s its meaning and why Nope hasn’t explained it explicitly.

Oprah is Oprah Winfrey, a famous black celebrity on American television. She hosts the popular talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, a well-renowned show in the black community. Therefore, Oprah represents the highest level of popularity a black person can achieve in society.

With the expression “Oprah shot,” Emerald means getting a shot of the alien on film, which must be so perfect and clear to make them famous, as the unprecedented people who managed to get a clear photo of an alien. This will make them so famous that they will probably get invited to the Oprah Winfrey Show. The meaning of the expression “Oprah shot” literally refers to a shot of the alien that can lead Oprah Winfrey to invite Emeral and O.J. to her show, making them famous.

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