12 Horror Movies That Deserved Oscars – Reading this title alone is a horror to my eyes! Lord, take the wheel and be gentle! It’s a freakin’ travesty that the genre hasn’t earned enough respect in the eyes of Hollywood elites. Heck, even the pompous film student wouldn’t know about the classics such as The Night of the Hunter (1955) which is in my opinion one of the greatest horror movies, let alone movies to have ever existed. Stanley Cortez should’ve been up for nomination in Best Cinematography for his amazing attention to detail in the black-and-white classic. I mean, look at this scene!
Maybe ole’ Barry is just hyped up off Mountain Dew and skittles… Man, my blood pressure is screaming, but nonetheless, it’s time to show the world horror has always been and will always be a great genre, There shouldn’t be only 18 horror movies that have won an Oscar. Let’s begin this list already because the voices in my head are persuading me to watch the horror that is The Room by Tommy Wiseau.
12. “The Thing” (1982): Best Visual Effects
John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror classic is recognized for its groundbreaking practical effects that left audiences frozen in sheer terror. Which were both disgustingly realistic and massively impressive. Especially, during that scene in the kennel where the dogs become… You know what, you the reader just needs to watch the movie. Carpenter and his entire team deserved recognition for their innovative work in visual effects.
11. “The Shining” (1980): Best Cinematography
John Alcott, the man, the myth, the legend! Without his fantastic cinematography – Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel would not be as beautifully haunting, almost a fever dream at times. Alcott truly made this movie a masterpiece with its iconic slow zooms, long tracking stops, and use of fluorescent lighting. This movie was robbed in my humble opinion, it’s filled with so many iconic shots such as the twins in the hallway and the zombie woman in the bathtub.
10. “Hereditary” (2018): Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress
Toni Collette is hands down one of the top 15 greatest actors to ever step in front of a camera and it’s a shame only die-hard fans recognize her name. Collette’s intense and emotionally raw portrayal of a woman that is haunted by a tragic family legacy was one of the most celebrated performances of 2018! Easily could’ve been a strong contender for Best Supporting Actress. I highly recommend readers watch this movie. It’s a slow burn filled with anxiety-inducing suspense, Toni Collette’s performance is so captivating and has an ending that’ll leave you flabbergasted.
9. “The Conjuring” (2013): Best Sound Editing
Don’t any of dare you scoff at this choice. I get it, the franchise is ridiculous and it’s generic jumpscare horror now. None of the sequels I would choose to ever win, or at the very least be nominated for an Oscar. But, I’m talking about the first movie because the sound design played such a crucial role throughout the entire movie. It was a masterful manipulation of sound to build suspense and build tension which made the movie so unnerving to watch. If none of you believe me then look up the “hide and clap scene” on YouTube from “The Conjuring”, you’re welcome.
8. “Halloween” (1978): Best Original Score
He’s back on the list, John Carpenter! Not only did he write and directed Halloween – The man also composed a bone-chilling banger of a score. The simple yet effective piano melody is just as scary as Michael Myers aka “The Shape”. Playing a crucial role in making “Halloween” what it is now, a horror masterpiece. Lastly, as many fans have pointed out, what makes the score incredible is that it automatically evokes uneasiness, the urge to run, and an alarmed awareness of one’s surroundings because you’ll never know what’s creeping in the shadows until it’s too late.
7. “The Witch” (2016): Best Costume Design
Robert Egger’s atmospheric debut feature is a stunning and terrifying portrait of one family’s descent into madness in colonial America. The film’s authentic and finely detailed costumes by the talented Linda Muir knocked it out of the park in historical accuracy. The attention to detail when it came to the costumes truly allowed the viewer to feel fully immersed in 1630s New England.
6. “Let The Right One In” (2008): Best Foreign Language Film
A 2008 Swedish horror movie directed by Tomas Alfredson tells the tale of a young boy named Oskar who befriends a young vampire girl named Eli. This is a movie that eschews conventional horror tropes to offer something more nuanced and thoughtful. Instead of another stereotypical vampire trope that has the monster plotting to destroy everybody and being over-sensualized. We are welcomed by a complex character with a dark past and uncertain future. Its theme of finding love, acceptance, and comfort in an unexpected place is heartwarming and poignant. “Let The Right One In” is a mesmerizing movie that effortlessly blends horror, romance, and drama. It is a must-see for anyone who loves powerful storytelling and brilliant filmmaking.
– “Midsommar” (2019): Best Costume Design
– “The Night of the Hunter” (1955): Best Cinematography
– “It Follows” (2014): Best Sound Design
– “A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Best Original Screenplay
– “Candyman” (1992): Best Original Screenplay
– “The Others” (2011): Best Costume Design
– “The Haunting” (1963): Best Set Design and Best Sound Mixing
– “The Innocents” (1961): Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography
5. “Suspiria” (1977): Best Set Design
Director Dario Argento is a madman, and we love him for it! The movie’s set design is awe-inspiring, to say the least. Every aspect of the production design, from the ornate wallpaper to the stained-glass windows, sets the scene remarkably well for an eerie and mysterious ballet academy. The interiors are suffocating, and the bright-colored walls, and the twisted shadows, on the floor create an unsettling ambiance that is both inviting and straight-up repulsive. Man, I love this movie! Truthfully this movie deserved to be nominated for a variety of awards just look it up, you won’t be disappointed.
4. “Audition” (1999): Best Adapted Screenplay
The tension steadily builds throughout the movie, culminating in one of the most unforgettable endings in the horror genre. When I typed that sentence out I began to wince thinking about that wild ending! The screenplay follows a widowed father’s pursuit of love that is sentimental, yet spine-chilling in his journey to find the “one”. The slow burn style used is deliberate to build up the tension, seamlessly making it more effective. It doesn’t hurt that lead actors Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina delivered stunning performances that draw viewers into the movie’s world.
3. “The Invitation” (2015): Best Original Screenplay
The Invitation, tells the story of a man attending a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife and her new partner. Which gradually becomes more and more unsettling as the night unfolds. The film’s original screenplay is expertly crafted, waving layers of tension and ambiguity into the narrative while keeping the audience guessing until the very end. I absolutely love the dialogue which is sharp and proactive. All the characters feel so real and complex. Overall, this is a standout movie that shouldn’t be slept on.
2. “Dogtooth” (2009): Best Director
Before I explain my reasons, I know Dogtooth was nominated in 2011 for Best Foreign Film, but I believe it should’ve been up for nomination in 2010 for Best Director, replacing Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney. Director Yorgos Lanthimos masterfully balances the movie’s darkly comedic moments with its underlying sense of tragedy. Lanthimos’ psychological horror explores themes of isolation, control, and manipulation that can be downright uncomfortable. Lathimos is a master at his craft as he’s navigating the shifts in tone with a steady hand and a willingness to push the limits of audience expectations. Another horror movie I highly recommend people watch.
1. “The Night of the Living Dead” (1968): Best Picture
Despite Romero’s masterpiece never being recognized by the Academy mostly to the stigma of horror being “lowbrow” and “distasteful” to the art of cinema. There has been and always will be a solid argument on why George A. Romero’s zombie Mona Lisa earns a spot for Best Picture. The movie’s themes of survival, isolation, and societal collapse would become hallmarks of the zombie subgenre. The movie crossed racial barriers in cinema with an African-American actor by the name of Duane Jones playing the lead role (and hero) in a horror movie. “The Night of the Living Dead” has inspired countless filmmakers and cultural references in the decades since its release. Lastly, the movie’s stark black-and-white cinematography, haunting score, great practical effects for its time, along with its sharp editing all contributed to its unique and terrifying atmosphere that’s equally full of dread. A movie that should be on every horror fan’s top 10 favorites list.
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