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The Disrespect of the Horror Genre

Some of my favorite Oscar nominations are acting performances from the few horror movies that get nominated. In Oscar history, Best Picture has not happened often but when it does, it’s something that the academy didn’t get wrong. When it comes to the Academy Awards, no genre is more disrespected than the horror genre. Only 6 horror movies have ever been nominated for best picture. This number is astonishing when compared to the over 500 movies that have been nominated in the Academy’s dreadful history.

As of 2023, Silence of the Lambs is the only horror film that has won best picture. This is astonishing, seeing as the horror genre is what helped build Hollywood into what it is today. By creating stories that were taboo resulting in making audiences uncomfortable, the horror genre changed the film industry as a whole. If you look at the old Hollywood horror films you can find the first interpretations of universally known monsters like mummies, vampires, werewolves, and zombies (aka Frankenstein). Some of Hollywood's first well-known directors were horror directors like Alfred Hitchcock. The first summer blockbuster in box office history was Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws

This genre has given us some of pop culture's best-known fictional icons. Some are so iconic that you don’t need to have seen the movies to know who they are. For example, Michael Myers is referred to as the bogeyman. Ghost Face is the killer who makes you anxious every time you hear the phone ring. Chuckie the doll is the doll that every kid loves and he is “your friend to the end.”

Now to give some praise for horror performances:

In more recent years Daniel Kaluuya got nominated for Get Out in 2018. His performance in that movie solidifies his start quality and this makes the film an instant horror classic.

Going back to old Hollywood, Janet Leigh’s performance in Psycho was nominated in 1961 and is considered an iconic moment in horror cinema, with the famous shower sequence.

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens is probably the best sci-fi horror movie to date and way better than any film that tries to achieve this film's impact on horror cinema. Sadly, if Aliens was released now her name wouldn’t even be in the Oscar conversation. But at the very least she got a nomination( even though she deserved that win!)

Of course, I have to mention the Oscar-winning performance by Kathy Bates in Misery. Surprisingly, it was her first film and she won an Oscar. That’s a horror icon for sure.

Lupita Nyong’o made Us one of my greatest films of all time. Her playing two versions of herself is such a mind f*ck and so complex that she played it a little too well. It is so disrespectful that she wasn’t in conversation for award season.

Hereditary brought to the world one of the most iconic female rage scenes in horror cinema. Toni Collette really put everything into this role where she othered the whole movie. Her monologue is something pop culture still references and even when taken out of context it is still impactful, as well as being able to resonate with parents.

Lastly, she’s a star! Mia Goth in Pearl is a role that I will always remember her for. Pearl is one of 3 films in Ti West’s X franchise and will probably be my favorite out of 3. It is an interesting character study and her monologue is one of my favorites ever not in horror but in cinema so far. Her role in Pearl is to be studied by actors who wish to achieve this level of insanity. The last shot of the film is what makes it true horror perfection and shows how dedicated Mia Goth is to her craft.

The horror genre deserves a lot more than what it is given. After all these years this genre is still looked down upon by not only the Oscars but other prestigious places for film to be praised.

I’d like to not thank the Academy and ask them to do better.

Written by Daniel Rojas

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