Horror fans everywhere are celebrating today as Get Out and The Shape of Water both scored nominations for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars- a rare feat for films of the genre. Both movies gained traction leading up to and throughout awards season, and despite the “non-horror” cries of the general public, horror fans are aware that these nominations are monumental for a genre that is frequently looked down upon.
Get Out, which is much more of a straightforward horror film than it’s nominated counterpart, scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, whereas The Shape of Water, which utilizes horror elements in a fairy tale setting, led all films with 13 nominations. The films deserve every bit of praise and accolade consideration that has been bestowed upon them, but with 2017 arguably being the greatest single year in horror history, we think that other movies deserved Academy love too.
And our nominees are:
Carla Gugino, Gerald’s Game (Lead Actress)
Mike Flanagan continued his hot directing streak in 2017, bringing a Stephen King adaptation to life that nobody really thought would ever be a film. The movie itself was great, tense, and downright scary. It’s the performance of Carla Gugino in the lead role that deserves the most recognition, however. Gugino delivered one of the year’s greatest performances, regardless of genre, showcasing frightened weakness, deep psychological trauma and grief, and an underlying strength that allows her character’s journey a gratifying, emotional ending. The majority of the 103-minute film is set in a bed, but Gugino never falters in keeping us glued to the screen. She’s brilliant, and her name should have been mentioned during the Oscars nominations.
Thomas Jane, 1922 (Lead Actor)
Thomas Jane’s metamorphosis in 1922 is shocking to behold, and his performance is so stellar that I found myself distracted by the thoughts of how great he truly is while trying to pay attention to the film. 1922 is a pretty good movie with a fantastic, unrecognizable performance from a popular actor at the forefront. From his accent, to his embodiment of stubborn pride, rage, and eventual guilt, Jane’s performance demands to be seen. The lead actor category is stacked as is, but it feels neglectful for the Oscars to overlook this work.
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Director)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is one of 2017’s most divisive horror films (I’d argue that it’s a genre masterpiece), and it’s wild from start to finish. From top to bottom, the film is layered with tremendously subtle performances; a booming-yet-haunting score; and an abstract story that will frustrate as many viewers as it will compel. The true highlight of Sacred Deer, however, is Yorgos Lanthimos. The Greek filmmaker showcases a Kubrick-like directing style that feels cold and disconnected from reality, yet entirely investing and nightmarish. He frames shots from bizarre, invigorating angles, and he always appears to be in total control of this weird, one-of-a-kind horror film. The Killing of a Sacred Deer weighed on my mind for weeks after my initial viewing, and it’ll likely do the same for you. The Oscars missed one of the greatest off-camera performances of 2017.
Darren Aronofsky, mother! (Original Screenplay)
There was no film more divisive than mother! in 2017, and though you may be cringing in blind anger at the thought of the film receiving any sort of nomination from the Oscars, you have to admit that the screenplay was pretty fucking smart. Metaphorically telling the story of humanity and religion from the standpoint of Mother Earth, Aronofsky’s film largely drew from biblical stories, showcasing the demented side of humanity and posing questions about God, forgiveness, and art. It’s strange, and maybe even a little pretentious, but the work that Aronofksy put into his screenplay was obviously effective, and it deserves to be recognized.
Benjamin Wallfisch, It (Original Score)
Andy Muschietti’s It was my personal favorite film of 2017, but I’m not biased towards its lack of consideration at the Oscars- except for this one category. There was an online movement several months ago that Bill Skarsgård should receive a supporting actor nomination for his work as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, with folks comparing the performance to that of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. It was a great performance, sure, but the true snub from the highest grossing horror film of all time was Benjamin Wallfisch for Best Original Score. Not only did the music work to amplify the scares provided by Skarsgård and director Muschietti, but it added the layer of enchantment that transcended It into a magical, special horror experience. It’s one of the greatest scores of 2017, and it’s a shame that it didn’t receive more recognition.
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