Every Main Character In Nope Ranked Worst To Best

Original horror is on a hot streak. On the heels of Scott Derrickson's "The Black Phone" which vaulted over the $100 million mark in global box office receipts, Jordan Peele's third feature film, "Nope," snatched $44 million in its opening weekend, making it the highest-grossing debut for an original horror film since his own "Us" in 2019. You could say it's Peele's world, and we're just living in it.

The allure for "Nope" lies not only in its spacey sci-fi premise but in the strength of its performers. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer star as siblings OJ Haywood and Emerald Haywood. In the aftermath of their father's strange death, they must rally together to save the family horse ranch and contend with an otherworldly presence that could destroy humanity. Rounding out the cast are Steven Yeun as carnival owner Ricky Park, Brandon Perea as Angel Torres, and Michael Wincott as Antlers Holst, with guest appearances by Keith David (Otis Haywood Sr.), Barbie Ferreira (Nessie), and Donna Mills (Bonnie Clayton).

In true Peele fashion, the film's players are complex and rich, so it's a difficult task to rank the main characters. Below, we peel back their layers and get to the heart of their motivations and attempt to stack them from worst to best. Let's dive in.

5. Antlers Holst

Antlers Holst initially plays a minor role in the film. A famed film director-cinematographer, Antlers is a placeholder for every old white man in Hollywood. He possesses an almost stoic personality and has little patience for those who waste his time.

While filming a commercial, one of OJ's horses reacts violently to the film crew's equipment, leading Antlers to drop the Haywoods from the project. It's a considerable financial blow that casts the ranch family further into debt. Later on, Emerald approaches Antlers about coming out to the farm to help capture the flying saucer on film, leaning into his love of real cinema and the art of capturing the perfect shot. He blows them off, of course, and only agrees upon hearing news coverage about strange disappearances at Jupiter's Claim.

An auteur by nature, he packs up his analog camera — a smart alternative to an electronic one. The group then devises a scheme to lure in the UFO. OJ plants flailing inflatable tube men around the surrounding valley as a way to trace the spacecraft's path and hops on his horse named Lucky. As the stakes quickly escalate, and the alien makes its presence known, Antlers grabs his camera and hikes up into the mountains. It's a silly, frustrating decision, but he's willing to do whatever it takes to get that money shot. He'll even die for it. Otherwise, he serves no purpose than highlighting the film's thesis about the destruction wrought by Hollywood filmmaking.

4. Angel Torres

Following a flying saucer sighting, OJ and Emerald head to Fry's Electronics to stock up on cables and cameras to catch the UFO on video. A member of the tech team, Angel Torres (Perea) offers to install the equipment on the family ranch. His four-year relationship recently ended, so he's an emotional hothead. He might come off a bit bullish, jaded even, but his heart is in the right place. He just wants to help.

Angel is also a tad eccentric and a conspiracy theorist when it to comes alien abductions. In a conversation with OJ, he shares his thoughts on the government declassifying a report concerning a UFO caught on video. Despite this bombshell, the footage was far too grainy to be considered irrefutable proof. He's fully game when Emerald reveals the true nature of their plans.

Against their wishes, Angel spies on their camera feeds and calls them on a sweltering and dusty afternoon to alert them that one of their cameras' batteries has drained. He's also discovered that one of the clouds over the ranch has not moved in days — a surefire sign of an alien presence. As the UFO draws closer, Angel questions whether what they're doing has any real meaning and purpose aside from money and fame. Say what you want about him, but Angel is an honest, good-natured person who wants desperately to change the world for good. It also helps that he steals every scene he's in.

3. Ricky 'Jupe' Park

The carnival ringleader of Jupiter's Claim, Ricky "Jupe" Park knows how to put on a good show. He's been performing the "Star Lasso Experience" show for six years after an otherworldly incident forever changed his life. He now uses horses to lure UFOs as sacrificial offerings to the higher being.

Peele peppers flashback sequences throughout the film to give the audience further insight into Jupe's motivations. In the late '90s, Jupe performed as a child star in a popular sitcom called "Gordy's Home," which starred a chimpanzee named Gordy as the lead. While shooting an episode, Gordy was triggered by a balloon popping on a light fixture and erupted into a bloodthirsty rage, killing nearly everyone on set. Jupe managed to survive, and he now exploits that pain and trauma in his work.

Yeun's performance is quiet but magnetic. Jupe holds his head up high and fills up every single space he enters. When he makes a bid to buy horses from the Haywood Ranch, Emerald urges her brother, OJ, to sell the ranch outright. Jupe presses for a bigger deal, but he's not a foolish man. He never oversells his hand before the time is exactly right. Even though he likely fabricates his previous encounters with alien creatures, he doesn't fake much in his business dealings. A very-real flying saucer eventually comes knockin' during his show, and Jupe accepts his fate with awe and a smirk. He's a good one 'til the bitter end.

2. OJ Haywood

OJ Kaluuya cares deeply, perhaps more than most people. When his father Otis is speared with debris falling from the sky, he rushes to his side and whisks him off to the hospital. There's nothing the doctors can do, however, and OJ is forever traumatized. His father's death haunts him throughout the film. He follows in his footsteps in terms of tending to the ranch and horses and wants desperately to make Otis proud.

While keeping the family business afloat, he struggles to grieve and move on with his life. His relationship with his sister, Emerald, is complicated, to say the least. They could not be more different. He adheres to an old-school way of doing things, believing Emerald to be too flashy in her presentation to the Hollywood producers.

He's the first one to spot the flying saucer and expresses his concerns to Emerald, asking her about a "bad miracle." Together, they scheme to capture the spacecraft on camera and possibly make a profit. When the spaceship seeks to rip their home and lives apart, OJ shows great courage and faces off with the invading alien creature. He might be of meek and mild temperament, but his loyalty is steadfast. He even tries to save an injured TMZ photographer who trespasses on their property and attempts to film the alien. Despite his emotional baggage, OJ is the kind of man who is unwaveringly loyal and will not go down without a fight.

1. Emerald Haywood

Emerald couldn't be more different than OJ. She's charming, funny, and dazzles in front of the camera. It's no wonder she broke away from the family business to pursue her own entrepreneurial endeavors. She's an actor, a dancer, and a host of other things. She knows what she wants and never takes "no" for an answer.

An early conversation with her brother reveals a deeper layer of her character. She confesses that she wanted to train a horse named Jean Jacket when she was just nine years old, but her father didn't let her. Instead, Otis trained OJ with the horse. "What's the point?!" she asks rhetorically. There is no point, indicating that this moment forever changed her.

Since then, she has always been one to take charge. She's a quick thinker, intuitive, and incredibly innovative and uses these natural-born attributes to save her family. After OJ confides to her that he saw a flying saucer, she cooks up the idea to approach Fry's Electronics and equip the ranch with cameras to capture "the money shot." In doing so, they could win the jackpot and pay off their debts. Later, she steals a carousel horse and carnival flags from the nearby attraction, Jupiter's Claim, as a decoy to lure in the spaceship. When one tactic doesn't work, she swerves to a backup plan, which includes unleashing a giant Jupiter's Claim balloon as a last-ditch effort. Every step of the way, Emerald is the real MVP of "Nope."