The Academy is too squeamish.

There’s a lot of different reasons to complain about the Oscars. It’s over-long, the hosts never deliver (it’s a truly thankless job), and the right movies never win the right awards. It’s all a bunch of self congratulatory hooplah. To be honest, most of these complaints rarely cross my mind. I enjoy the pageantry of the Oscars. Of course, I don’t see these awards as proof as to which film is better than another – but I do find them to be an important moment that celebrates cinema as a whole.

Oh… except horror movies.

If there is one big complaint I could make about the Oscars, it’s this: not enough genres are represented. The Oscars ceremony is basically the “Best Drama Show.” Comedy, Sci-Fi, and Horror have no place on the monumental stage alongside those shiny golden statues.

Horror gets the worst hit though. At the very least, comedy and sci-fi might be able to slip in – especially with made up genres like “dramedy” and random exceptions of good grounded sci-fi flicks like the recent heavy hitter Gravity. This does not exist for horror movies. Or rather, it exists on such a small scale that it is barely noticed.

Seriously, when was the last time horror was able to slip through? The last Oscar nominated film to even get close was Black Swan – and that’s not even really a horror movie. It’s just a really creepy drama. And honestly, that’s the closest horror is ever going to get.

Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter mask

The only horror movie to ever win best picture was Silence of the Lambs. That was over twenty years ago. Even if you look back at the past fifteen years – ever since we’ve hit the 2000’s there has been very little horror represented at the Oscars.

Compare that to the late 60’s through the 80’s; where major horror movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, Jaws, The Omen, and The Fly all got some face time at the Oscars. Silence of the Lambs making a splash didn’t usher in a horror at the Oscars renaissance – things have actually gotten worse.

Maybe I’m over exaggerating here to make a point. This isn’t a war after all. Getting nominated for an Oscar isn’t needed to validate the horror genre. But you know what? It would be nice every once in a while.

Babadook scream

So why don’t more horror movies make the cut? Could it be that horror films are just on-average worse than “more important” dramas that get all the glamour year after year? Of course that can’t be the case (right?) – but I do I have a theory: the academy wants their nominations to contain a complete movie package of “emotional intensity.” They want movies that make an impact (even with technical awards like editing and make up – they always pick “good” movies. What if there was a god awful movie that had the best make up in all of history? Would that get nominated? I guess Transformers did get in there at least once. But I digress…).

Horror, as a whole, delivers shocks first and foremost. And in a weird way, fear is a very shallow type of emotion. I’m not talking about deeper lifelong fears like “fear of failure” or “fear of loneliness.” I mean stuff like shocks, jumps, terror in the night. The sort of frights that keep your hair standing on end. This kind of emotion doesn’t get respect from the academy. You could argue the same thing for comedies. Belly laughs are a shallow form of emotion. It’s only when pared with some deeper meaning, something more “serious,” that the academy will recognize these kinds of films. Babadook and Starry Eyes will never win an Oscar. 22 Jump Street and Neighbors won’t win an Oscar either.

Starry Eyes dead

That’s why other award shows like the Golden Globes create split categories such as Comedy/Musical to help spread the love around. Ironically, there’s still no separation for horror though. Still no love for all us horror buffs. Horror will always be the nerdy black sheep of the movie family. The one that everyone secretly loves to hang out with – but would never want to be seen with at big public events. Oh well, who needs them. We got each other, the blood, and some pretty damn creative people making amazing films filled with monsters, devils, killers, and ghosts.

That’s the best reward we could ever ask for and I don’t think that little gold and bald man named Oscar could even keep up. Rant over.

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