7 Films Oscar Shouldn’t Have Been Scared Of


Last year I made a sad observation for the comedy genre that often gets overlooked time and time again.  As Halloween is canceled on the East Coast due to the storm, I realized the Horror genre gets the finger more often than its comedic counterpart.  How many horror films would you throw in a Best Picture lineup over the years?  Or a simple Screenplay nomination at least?  Films like The Sixth Sense (1999) have powered through their respective Oscar seasons but is that our most deserving film to make the cut?  Surely not.  As films like Frankenweenie pay homage to the monster genre, could it be more acceptable to embrace the scares for Oscar consideration?

I’m taking a look at a few names that come to mind but I’m sure the great readership will name dozens more after this is said and done.

Check out the full list (in no particular order) after the jump.

1. Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott attempted to (sort of) bridge the gap between Prometheus earlier this year to his classic film about true terror in space.  Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, and John Hurt rounded out an impressive cast that showcased Scott in his elements and allowing the atmosphere to fully petrify the audience.

2. Aliens (1986)

James Cameron came a lot closer to Oscar with the sequel to Scott’s film, Aliens.  Sigourney Weaver was nominated for Best Actress adding to the films impressive seven Oscar nomination total and winning two.  If the 1980s had a year of ten Best Picture nominees, a film like Aliens would have easily benefited with its massive box office.

3. Psycho (1960)

What many consider to be Hitchcock’s masterpiece, the iconic director found himself as the lone director nominated without the film named as a Best Picture nominee.  Janet Leigh was also nominated for Supporting Actress in her brief screen time.  What gets the head scratching even more than the films absence in Picture, is the absence of Anthony Perkins in Best Actor.  A snub of epic proportions. While many of the films on the nomination slate may not have aged well in the realm of cinema, Psycho still stands as one of the best in cinematic history.

4. The Ring (2002)

Now I’m fully aware to place The Ring in a Best Picture lineup, films like Chicago, The Hours, and Gangs of New York have to get the axe.  Even with that, films like Far from Heaven, Bowling for Columbine, and Punch-Drunk Love still don’t get their proper due.  For arguments sake, and the sake of the article, The Ring was one of the most clever and intriguing films of the 2002 showcasing a powerful performance by Naomi Watts and the terrifying Daveigh Chase.

5. Halloween (1978)

The first film to scare me out of a goodnight’s sleep and still my favorite of all-time, Halloween.  John Carpenter’s slick direction and a composition that stands firmly next to anything from John Williams is the true treasure in the picture.  Don’t forget we met a beautiful actress by the name of Jamie Lee Curtis because of the film.  Can we replace the overrated Paul Mazursky film An Unmarried Woman with Halloween please?

6. Carrie (1976)

I have to give Oscar credit when they do something right.  The 1977 ceremony is one of the best years for film with an Oscar lineup to die for.  The same year they were able to cite the works of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, both unconventional choices by Oscar standards during the  time.  Was there room for a film like Brian DePalma’s classic prom night nightmare in a Best Picture lineup?  I think so.

7. Scream (1996)

I will always have a love for Wes Craven’s classic featuring a great ensemble of talented actors sprinkled with the clever writing of Kevin Williamson.  In a year where you can get rid of three of the Best Picture nominees, the 1997 ceremony missed out in at least a Screenplay mention for something that bookended 90s horror with laughs and screams.

What horror films would you throw into an Oscar mix?  Comment and discuss!  Happy Halloween!

  • The Shining and Poltergeist.

    • Clayton Davis

      Great choices, especially the latter.

  • Steve Glansberg

    How about we go old school with the Universal horror classics? And I’m sure the same people who insist that Let the Right One In was the best film of 2009 would call for either a best picture or best foreign language picture nomination.

  • Josh P.

    I would say that John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing” not only deserved a mention for its special effects, but the way that Carpenter was able to balance the tension and establish a good sense of characters, especially with an ensemble cast, should also give him at least a Best Director notice.

  • DH Johnson

    Se7ven. Unless that counts more as a thriller than a horror film. One of the finest thrillers ever made.

    • Clayton Davis

      Why not? Throw it in. Seven is incredible.

      • Frank

        You’ve got to be kidding me. A quality movie is supposed to affect the viewer long after the experience. Horror movies are just cheap entertainment with short term “thrills”. No one takes them seriously and the poor actors involved make them less relatable. Even Psycho’s lasting charm is in the fear it struck at home, forcing people to check behind their shower curtains and Hermann’s haunting stringed screeching, not in a deep emotional connection but a superficial scare. It’s a milestone masterpiece in entertainment, but not Oscar win worthy.

  • Ben

    Some people have problems with the films but Signs and The Village. More notably Mel Gibson and Bryce Dallas Howard in acting categories.

    Also, Red State is considered by its director a horror film and we all know Michael Parks was snubbed.

  • Phill

    Halloween, Scream, The Ring, Let Me In (or Let the Right One In), and The Blair Witch Project are the ones that stand out to me.

  • Evan

    Rosemary’s Baby: Polanski, Farrow, and Cassavetes were all worthy