Amidst the recent number of unfortunate awards-related snubs (sorry, Beyoncé), perhaps the most glaring one of them all just might be the blatant negligence of the horror genre—yet again. We direct your attention to the recent Oscar nominations, where two brilliantly gripping pictures of 2022, Ti West’s Pearl and Jordan Peele’s Nope, had both been completely ignored in the process. And should we recall the past decade of annual nominations, it’s certainly not the Academy’s first rodeo of being at odds with the much-contested film genre.
Granted, there’s a small degree of acknowledgment that might first have to be executed; The Academy Awards cannot possibly be said to have overlooked some of the greatest screen creations to have crossed paths with us, considering how the psychological horror The Silence of the Lambs (1991) had not only been given nods across multiple categories but also swept up the Best Picture title in 1992. And there was also Peele’s well-deserved win for his seminal feature picture Get Out (2017).
But were they mere exceptions to the rule? It certainly seems so, with the lead actor of Pearl, Mia Goth herself, recently intimating at the unseemly nomination process for the major awards show. An awards show that has repeatedly overlooked a genre rich with excellent acting, enrapturing cinematography and wholly original storylines efficacious in reigniting one’s fears from within. In the last few years alone, the genre has also seen a witty disregard for what one might expect from conventional horror: with more psychological twists, distorted editing and a far greater deal of discomforting empathy coming directly from the audience.
Why then, do we continue to see these inventive horror masterpieces trampled all over at a night that prides itself on celebrating the best of the film industry? Perhaps Mia Goth had said it best, for the rest of us. But only time will tell. In the meantime, we remember some of the best pictures to have ever graced our screens in the last few years. Here are the nominees: for the horror films that deserved an Oscar nod all on their own.
1 / 7
We’ll start with Mia Goth’s wildly unnerving performance in A24’s slasher flick of 2022: Pearl. Her menacing portrayal of Pearl—the repressed (and oppressed) daughter to a disabled father and religious mother—alone was well-deserving for her to have been in the running for ‘Best Actress’.
2 / 7
Jordan Peele has two films on this list—and that stands for something. His latest work of art, Nope, undeniably kept us all on our toes; there was never a point in time during the film when you could predict what was really happening. Its creative genius lies in the unexpected perspective of the sci-fi-meets-horror genre, which should have seen it claim a spot amidst the nominees for ‘Best Original Screenplay’. As far as cinematic experiences go, ‘Best Cinematography’ would also have made sense, whilst Michael Abels’s score was a definite contender for ‘Best Original Score’.
3 / 7
When it comes down to the matter of Oscar-deserving nominations, there’s no denying that Florence Pugh should have managed to earn herself her keep here, with her highly-lauded delivery of Dani, the main protagonist of Midsommar. Acting aside, the beautiful set and spectacular costuming of the cult’s highly-awaited festival were truly a sight to behold and worthy of bids in their respective categories as well.
4 / 7
Following the splendid success of Get Out, came Us. If there was one category that the film should have been nominated for, would it not have been for Lupita Nyong’o’s performance? Apart from her disconcerting switch between Adelaide and Red, Peele’s second feature film was only a testament to his originality—which should have set him up to be in the running for ‘Best Director’.
5 / 7
And here comes Ari Aster’s big break. Now recognised as a cult classic all on its own, Aster’s dealings with grief and generational trauma led Toni Collette to break fresh ground all on her own—for which she could have definitely seen herself amidst the nominees for ‘Best Actress’. But the bigger snub was not having nominated Hereditary for ‘Best Film Editing’ or ‘Best Original Screenplay’ at all.
6 / 7
You wouldn’t think they could make the same mistake again. But with the latest remake of It, it seems the works of Stephen King (recall the complete snub of The Shining), are still viable for missing out on the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ category. Sans Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise, the eerie town of Derry and the Well House were well-deserving of nods in the production design categories. What there definitely should have been room for though, were spots on the ‘Best Make-up and Hairstyling’ or ‘Best Costume Design’ nominee lists. Just look at Pennywise.
7 / 7
Train to Busan (2016)
Possibly one that had been too ahead of its time, Train to Busan was perhaps the South Korean film that should have beat Parasite to the list of Oscar nominees. Combining the heart of what South Korea does best with its on-screen entertainment, the zombie horror film was as thrilling as it was moving. And for that alone, it should have definitely won itself a spot on the ‘Best International Feature Film’ list.