Each year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences strives to honor the best achievements in filmmaking at the Oscars. Now, while everyone is entitled to their own opinions on what makes a particular film or performance the “best,” the Academy has made one thing clear, they are not fans of horror. Only six horror movies have ever competed for Best Picture and only one has gone on to win. It’s not much better in the acting category where only six actors have ever taken home a statue for their performance in a horror film. So in honor of the Oscars this weekend, and it’s complete lack of horror nominations, some of the HorrOrigins writing team nominated their own favorite horror Oscar snubs.
Christian Bale in American Psych
Long before we knew the lengths Christian Bale would go to inhabit the roles he took on, he embarked on the biggest gamble of his burgeoning career. When he was offered the part of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, several agents and managers deeply discouraged him from taking it. They all were convinced he would be perpetually typecast, and this would end his career. But Mary Harron struck gold when Bale signed on – she had an actor who believed this character had a unique arc and wanted to see it through. It is one of the biggest robberies that Bale wasn’t even nominated for his performance. He worked out three hours a day, six days a week to achieve the absolute perfect body. He insisted on doing over fifteen takes of his final phone call to his lawyer to make sure he had the wide range of emotion needed to carry home the weight required for the film to end with a sinking feeling instead of a fizzle. His stubborn nature and persistence on believing in the project and his trust in Harron to deliver a scathing critique of toxic masculinity to the tunes of Huey Lewis and the News deserves more recognition than it ever got at the time.
-Carissa Jean Mares
Before he took home the gold with The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro released the less well-known Crimson Peak, starring Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston. The plot is fairly and intentionally simple because it’s designed to be a throwback to simpler times exploring love and loss in a gothic romance tale, that visually, is one of the best made films of the last decade. Del Toro ensures that the haunted house known as Allerdale Hall is its own character; practically built and detailed to perfection to pull off shot after shot of stunning beauty. Even before reaching the aforementioned home, the characters participate in a high-society ball with tuxedos and dresses that are simply perfect. Seeing this film in IMAX was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had and when it didn’t receive nods for art direction, production design, or costumes, I was stunned. The Academy hasn’t felt legitimate to me ever since.
Lupita Nyong’o in Us
In 2019, Jordan Peele brought us a new nightmare in the movie Us, a movie about an underground society that mirrored the people above ground. Leading the cast is a woman I feel was horrifically snubbed from Oscar contention, Lupita Nyong'o. Not only did she play a caring mother, but she also played the doppelganger attempting to take what her family had. During her first scene interacting with Red (doppelganger of Adelaide), you would have thought someone else was cast in the role. Lupita masterfully embodies the persona of both loving momma bear and a menacing leader without showing any signs of losing the vision set down for her. She put on two complete, and yet opposite performances in one movie and somehow was not considered for either.
-Justin Cook McAfee
The first time I watched The Shining was for a film class my senior of high school. Despite being in a well-lit classroom in the middle of the day, this movie still managed to scare me. The score was haunting as was the acting performances of Jack Nicholson, Scatman Crothers, and Shelley Duvall. I loved the wide shots of the Overlook Hotel followed by the dreaded hallway scenes that left me dreading what was around the corner. The Shining feels like the perfect movie to me, so I was surprised to learn that The Shining wasn’t nominated for a single Oscar. Even more than that, it holds the dubious distinction of being nominated for two Razzies for Director Stanely Kubrick and actress Shelley Duvall. Despite its initial mixed reception and a complete snub at the Oscars, The Shining has gone on to remain one of the most beloved and influential films in the genre. It is routinely ranked in the Top 100 films by various institutions and publications. When AFI published their list of top 100 movie quotes “Here’s Johnny!” landed at number 68. The fact that it wasn’t nominated for a single Oscar feels like a mistake to me.
Crispin Glover in Willard (2003)
Noted choreographer Crispin Glover is by no means a man of little talent. But, for whatever reason (SAG debacle, Letterman, eating those Balkan villagers), he occupies that special space so many young performers shudder to hear – character actor. That's why it's such a tragedy that he didn't get his long-delayed due for Willard, a part that is just so utterly “him” all over. Was there ever any way you “wouldn't” believe Glover is a borderline wackadoo desperately training an army of rats for love or revenge? And, of course, that he squeezes every drop of viable emotion out of that set-up? Don't tell me it would never happen, either. Jamie Lee Curtis was getting buzz for Freaky Friday that year. 2003 was wild. But hey, hopefully the Academy is a bit more kind with Smiley Face Killers.
What do you think are the biggest horror movie Oscar snubs? Let us know in the comments.
Did You Know???
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