In the 91 years history of The Academy Awards, film fanatics have witnessed numerous breathtaking movies. They saw their favorite films from various genres bag awards and win hearts. But horror movies cannot say the same as they have not been the favorite of the Academy jury. And facts support that. Out of the 546 film nominations for best picture, only six falls under the genre of horror!
The same old love for ‘period dramas and biopic’ is visible even today. And it does not surprise us. Films in this genre generally have a tough time convincing the Oscars they are a good bet. Still, horror tops the list in the ‘hate’ category.
The Difficulty To Find The Spot
Only six (you read that right) movies made it among its contemporaries in the Oscars. The term ‘horror’ should extend a bit more to include subgenres like suspense, psychological thriller, and so on. To give a quick reference, the six films that we are talking about 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, The Exorcist got its nomination in the 46th Annual Academy Awards. That makes us glad knowing that the horror genre finally found a place in the awards.
It’s surprising to know that since the inauguration of the Oscars and the first horror best picture nominee, The Exorcist surfacing – there were notable films that did not reach the top category. Movies like Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary’s Baby all failed to make an impact. Even The Shining met a dead end with no Oscar nomination. This despite it enjoying a cult status among movie enthusiasts and film studies students.
How Different Was It For The Six Movies?
A horror movie had to somehow trick its way into entering the nominations to receive recognition from the Academy. If you see the Academy-approved horror flicks, the difference lies in the presented stories 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 Academy voters’ hearts and minds (and surely ballots).
What About The Other Sub-Genres?
Oscars have had serious fights in the past and even now regarding how they would only reward the most popular films. In several 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
Suddenly, Black Panther made it to the headlines after it was announced into the batch of best picture nominees. It also became the first superhero movie to get an Oscar nomination.
Most casual viewers would be glad by this decision. That is because it shows the development of the most respectable film awards to acknowledge a broader category of films. We can see this as a reflection of 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 a meaningless job lamenting and even wondering why Oscars have been partial towards few choices. We wonder why the Academy does not consider many other worthy movies (for each year). But we can hope that things will change in the future. Until then, we can always binge-watch and celebrate our favorite films even if they did not win fancy awards.