In the 91 years since The Academy Awards started happening, history has stayed witness to how the world-famous awards have (kind of) snubbed horror movies. And facts support that. Out of the 546 films that got nominated for best picture, only 6 falls under the genre of horror! The same old love for ‘period dramas and biopic’ is visible even to this day and we aren’t surprised a bit. So films that somehow exist out of this type generally have a tough time convincing the Oscars they’re a good bet. Still, horror tops the list in the ‘hate’ category.
The Difficulty To Find The Deserved Spot
To start, only 6 (you read that right) movies made it among its contemporaries in the Oscars. The term ‘horror’ should be extended a bit more to include subgenres like suspense, psychological thriller, and so on. To give a quick reference, the six films that were nominated for Best Picture are The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist, Jaws, Black Swan, Get Out, and The Silence of the Lambs. Right at the top of the paltry list, it is The Exorcist that got its nomination in the 46th Annual Academy Awards. Surely that makes us glad knowing that the horror genre was finally accepted.
At the same time, you might cringe learning that in between the inaugural year of the Oscars and the first horror best picture nominee called The Exorcist surfacing – there were notable films that failed to reach the top category. Names like Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary’s Baby were all rejected. Even The Shining met a dead end with no Oscar nomination coming for it, despite the fact, its iconography has been one of the most referenced and studied in the history of cinema.
How Different Was It For The Six Movies?
To receive recognition from the much-coveted Academy, a horror movie had to somehow trick its way into entering the nominations. If you see the Academy-approved horror flicks, the difference lies in the stories being presented and the type of gory scenes depicted in the movies (like ‘guts-and-gore, screaming-bloody-murder trope’ and more). As a result, these movies somehow define the parameters that would render an entry in this very genre.
The screenwriter of The Silence of the Lambs, Ted Tally said that he could never find any horrific element in the movie, even when the attached label is that of horror. In much the same way, Jordan Peele, the writer, and director of getting Out resisted the film’s linking with this genre. He also explained the time of the promotions, wherein the visualization was more of a thriller, but the film became ‘envisioned’ as an out-and-out horror story. Probably, saying that its horror is a hassle-free entry into the hearts and minds (and surely ballots) of Academy voters.
What About The Other Sub-Genres?
Oscars have had serious fights in the past and even now, in regards to how they would only reward the most popular films. In several such cases, action, sci-fi, and even comedy films haven’t made it to the prestigious award, simply because they didn’t belong to the approved genre/s. It wouldn’t be wrong to conclude that the reason could be the most primal human needs, or the voters were plain “squeamish”. We still cannot fathom the reason behind Academy’s detest towards horror films, but that is how it is.
The Sudden Change In The Trend
All of a sudden, Black Panther made it to the headlines after it was announced into the batch of best picture nominees. That was also because it became the first superhero movie that got nominated for the Oscars.
Most casual viewers would be glad by this decision, as this shows the development on the part of the most respectable film awards to have acknowledged a broader category of films and that certainly reflects the diverse tastes of the general public. However, there is no denying that this already popular movie getting included under the best film category implies the “live-viewing numbers” have declined, with an “all-time low” observed in 2018.
No matter what, it’s actually a meaningless job lamenting and even wondering why Oscars have been partial towards few choices, and not considered many other worthy movies (for each year).