2019 Horror Performances that Deserve Oscar Nods

4 min


The horror genre hasn’t been well represented at the Oscar Academy Awards. Whether it’s prejudice or the films genuinely aren’t up to standard, horror fans have always noticed its rarity at the Oscars. Such representation is particularly rare in the acting categories.

Also read: Full List Of Winners From 2019 Oscars

There have been exceptions. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster both won Academy Awards for their work in The Silence of the Lambs. And going back as early as 1931, Fredric March won Best Actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Still, fans would argue that actors are often overlooked simply for the roles they play.

In this spirit, let’s take a look at some horror performances of 2019 that deserve Oscar nominations. In no particular order,

5. Lupita Nyong’o – ‘Us’

This performance has one asset that makes it especially impressive; it’s a dual role. Playing two different characters is an extra challenge and Nyong’o portrays both Adelaide and Red convincingly. As Adelaide, she masterfully pulls off the character’s shock and fear. The tears rolling down her cheeks as her children are threatened seem to come from a place of real dread. As Red, we see the anger, resentment, and anguish she holds for the hand she was dealt. The hate for her doppelgänger is all too real. The rest of the family did their dual roles just fine, but Red having speech placed Nyong’o’s performance above the rest. Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for his role in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, so perhaps this performance won’t be overlooked either.

4. Florence Pugh – ‘Midsommar’

From the moment we hear Dani crying on the phone over the death of her family, it’s obvious Florence Pugh gives 100% in this role. On top of getting the emotions right, Pugh manages the confusion and wonder of Dani’s arc, pulling us into this twisted fairytale with her. Dani travels with her boyfriend and his friends to a Swedish midsummer celebration and they witness traditions that range from taboo to horrific. From one event to another, Dani shifts from terrified to charmed and back again. She doesn’t know what to think until the very end. And while it is a gruesome ending, she finally finds peace and some audience members may find themselves oddly happy for her. Convincing viewers that something so bad might be good for Dani takes a credible amount of talent.

3. Bill Hader – ‘It: Chapter Two’

Admittedly, this one might be a stretch. At first glance, Hader plays the adult Richie Tozier for comic relief. One thing that can’t be argued, though, is that he’s the most entertaining member of the Losers’ Club. Believability shouldn’t be the only factor considered by the Academy. If a performance isn’t entertaining on some level, what good is it? Richie is a ton of fun and it’s no challenge to believe that this is Finn Wolfhard’s character grown up. It’s also not as if Hader is without emotion in this role. His hiding a secret is a significant plot point and when he cries over the lifeless body of a friend, it feels entirely genuine.

2/1. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattison – ‘The Lighthouse’

Finally, we have a movie that is largely a two man show. Dafoe and Pattinson have only each other to work off of and they make the most of it. Dafoe is always excellent in creepy roles and Thomas Wake is one of his best. His mannerisms are exactly what one would imagine from a man living a largely hermit life in a lighthouse. Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) hides a secret through much of the story and Pattinson portrays that nicely. Furthermore, when Winslow is driven to drastic and manic measures by Wake, it’s both shocking and believable. This is a bit more of an arthouse film and that, along with public respect for Dafoe, may earn it some points with the Academy.

What horror performances do you think should’ve been nominated at the Academy Awards? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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Kenneth Walker
Freelance writer by passion and rock drummer by hobby, Kenneth "Kenny" Walker is an avid fan of scifi, horror, and superheroes. Inspired by creatives from Rod Serling to Sylvester Stallone, Kenny's greatest passion is for writing fiction and media.