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Monday, February 28, 2011

Horror at the Oscars (History/Tribute)

Horror has a known history of being shunned at the Oscars for whatever reason. Probably because the genre is typecasted as being all about blood, guts, and over sexualized screaming teenagers. Even when an insightful horror film comes along and decides to contend with the big boys at the Oscars it still gets overlooked even though most horror films are far more intelligent then people give them credit for.

I suppose it would be interesting to take a look back at the over all history that the Horror genre has had with the Oscars. Has it really been as left out as many say?

In 1932 horror makes an appearance when the classic"Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde" picked up nominations for Best Cinematography, and Best Writing, Adaption. Surprisingly Fredric March wins Best Actor for his portrayal of the mad doctor in the film.



In 1936 Universal's crown jewel of  horror classics "The Bride of Frankenstein" is nominated for Best, sound recording. (Not much, but hey at least it got a nomination for something."

In 1961 Alfred Hitchcock influential classic "Psycho" was nominated for Best Actress, Best Black/White Art Direction, Best Black/White Cinematography, and Best Director. Note: Alfred Hitchcock was nominated for best director only four times by the Oscars and he never won. The Oscars was nice enough to give him a memorial award though.

In 1963 "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" took center stage by picking up nominations for  Best Sound, Best Cinematography Black/White, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress for Bette Davis. It only won one award for Best Costume.  Random Fact: Did you know that the Oscar supposedly got it's name from Bette Davis naming the award after her ex-husband , Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr.

In 1969 the Roman Polanski was nominated for Best Adapted screenplay for "Rosemary's Baby".  Ruth Gordon took home Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

In 1974 "The Exorcist" was nominated  for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Art Direction. It won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.

In 1975 the horror inspired comedy "Young Frankenstein" is nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Sound.

In 1976 Jaws changed things up a bit by winning  Best Editing, Best Film Score, (Rightfully so) , Best Sound, but unfortunately didn't win Best Picture when it lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  (At least it was nominated)

In 1977 Sissy Spacek was nominated for her role as Carrie in the Stephen King adapted film "Carrie". Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Role Actress.


In 1980 James Cameron's classic "Alien" won for Best Visual Effects. It was only nominated in one other category, which was Best Art Direction. The darn thing should of had nominations such as Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Film. Darn it, Oscar's if Disney found Alien important enough to feature on its great movie ride you could have least given it proper recognition at the Oscars. -sigh- Another example of some good old horror snubbing.  That same year The Amittyville Horror was nominated for best musical score.

In 1982 An American Werewolf in London won for Best Makeup.

In 1983 Poltergeist was nominated for Best Visual Effect, Best Sound Editing, and Best Score.

In 1987 "Aliens" won Best Sound Effects and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated  for Best Sound,Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction and Sigourney Weaver was nominated for Best Actress. (She should have won though. -_-) That same year " The Fly" wins for Best Makeup.


In 1989 the Tim Burton horrorish comedy Bettlejuice won for Best Visual Effects.

In1991 Horror makes a splash in the scene by having Kathy Bates taking home an award for Best Actress in the film "Misery"

In 1992 an amazing thing happened "The Silence of the Lambs" swept the Oscars winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.It was also nominated for Best Sound and Best Editing.(Yeah, I know people bitch about it being more of a thriller than a horror, but many thriller films branch out from horror and "The Silence of the Lambs is one of them.) The Adams family was nominated for Best Costume Design that year. (The first film I ever saw by the way.)

In 1993 Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" won Best Costume, Sound Effects Editing, and Makeup. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction. The horror comedy "Death Becomes Her" wins Visual Effects. Oddly Alien 3 was nominated in the same category.

In 1995 Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire" was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Musical Score. Tim Burton's horror related film "Ed Wood"  won Best Supporting Actor and Makeup, Kenneth Branagh's 'Frankenstein' was also nominated in that same category.


In 1996 David Fincher's "Se7en" was oddly only nominated for one Oscar Nomination, which was Best Film Editing. I honestly wonder about the Oscars sometimes. I mean if the Oscars loved 'The Silence of the Lambs" they should also love "Se7en".

In 2000 the now highly controversial M. Night Shymalan's "The Sixth Sense" earned six nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing. Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hallow" was nominated for Cinematography, Costumes, and won an award for Art Direction.


In 2001 Three horror films were nominated for Best Makeup these were "Shadow of the Vampire", "Hallow Man" and "The Cell".


In 2007 Guillermo Del Toro's  horror fantasy "Pan's Labryinth" was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Foreign Film. Luckily the Oscars decided that the film did in fact deserve a few awards so the film won for Best Cinematography,Art Direction, and Makeup. (We are expecting great things from you Mr. Toro. Hopefully you can bring the Academy to truly appreciate the horror genre.)

 In 2008 Tim Burton's delightful musical adaption of "Sweeney Todd" won for Best Actor, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Direction. (Homicidal barbers get to be well dressed and groomed.)


In 2010 the beautifully filmed "Black Swan" was nominated for five Best Picture, Best Director, Best Achievement in Editing, and Best Cinematography. Natalie Portman was able to take home the Best Actress award for her role in the film. Oh yeah "The Wolfman" remake was able to earn Best Makeup category.


Yeah, I suppose the Oscar snub of horror isn't too bad when you look at it. I mean at least it gets mentioned here and there, but would it kill the Academy to actually put more horror films in the top contending categories. After all chances are that horror film that is overlooked is far more likely to be remembered and beloved for years to come.

82nd Academy Award tried to appease us horror fans by doing a tribute to horror. Let us see how Successful they were.



-_- Besides the fact Twilight was involved at all I'd say the tribute was descent. There were quite a few films I wouldn't have expected in the tribute, but more variety in the films would have been nice. Eh maybe this means The Oscars will take more interest in horror; after all Black Swan was able to pick up quite a few nominations. Only time will tell.

-Horrorwood Doll

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