The Scariest Things Goes to the Oscars Part I: A History of Horror Film Nominations

How hard is it for a Horror Movie to Get a Nomination?  Here’s a summary of all the horror films that have gotten the nod.


On March 4, Hollywood Royalty will gather and name the best efforts in film from 2017.  And, in a unique moment, two Horror themed movies have been nominated for Best Picture, marking the sixth and seventh time in Academy history.   Even rarer are nods for Best Actor in a horror picture (Only twice before, for Anthony Hopkins and Frederic March ), and director (four times).  Women have had better luck, garnering six best actress nominations, and winning three of them.

Clearly, horror movies have had their best success in the Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects categories, with Best Makeup debuting as an award in 1983 when it deservedly gave the award to Rick Baker for An American Werewolf in London.  Lord knows this is a category where you don’t need to be a good movie to win an Oscar.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?  Stinko!

To be honest, it may be a stretch to include the Shape of Water, but there is an amphibian man who could be a second cousin to the Creature from the Black Lagoon.   And then, there’s a debate over what constitutes a horror movie from a thriller.  If Psycho is a horror movie, then is Se7en?  Is Silence of the Lambs a horror or a drama film?  Is Predator an action film or horror?  Both? How about Aliens?  For more ruminations on that, check out our Episode III Podcast.

For the purposes of this list, close counts.  I tried to go out and find anything close to being horror, and in the process found a few films I wasn’t aware of.  I just may have to give Wait Until Dark and The Bad Seed a watch.  Oscar winners are highlighted in RED. Films are listed in the year that the award was given, so the movie was released the year before… just in case we have any movie release date junkies who are going to challenge the information here!  In Part II of The Scariest Things Goes to the Oscars, I will list the horror films that I believe got snubbed for selection by the Academy in each of the nomination categories.

So, here they are… your Horror Oscar nominees!   (APPLAUSE)

Get Out (2018):

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya
  • Best Director: Jordan Peele
  • Best Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele

The Shape of Water (2018)

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro
  • Best Actress: Sally Hawkins
  • Best Supporting Actor: Richard Jenkins
  • Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
  • Best Achievement in Production Design: Paul D. Austerberry,  Shane Vieau, and Jeffrey A. Melvin.
  • Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat
  • Best Original Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
  • Best Film Editing: Sidney Wolinsky
  • Best Costume Design: Luis Sequeira
  • Best Cinematography: Dan Laustsen
  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
  • Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Christian T. Cooke, Glen Guthier, an Brad Zoern

Black Swan (2011)

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress: Natalie Portman
  • Best Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique
  • Best Film Editing: Andrew Weisblum

The Wolfman (2011)

  • Best Makeup: Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Pan’s Labyrinth (2007):

  • Best Foreign Film
  • Best Original Screenplay, Guillermo Del Toro
  • Best Original Score, Javier Navarrete
  • Best Cinematography, Guillermo Navarro (winner),
  • Best Makeup, David Marti and Montse Ribe (winner); Best Art Direction, Eugenia Caballero and Pilar Revuelta (winner)

Shadow of the Vampire (2001)

  • Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe
  • Best Makeup: Ann Buchanan and Amber Sibley

The Cell (2001)

  • Best Makeup: Michèle Burke, Edouard Henriques

Sleepy Hollow (2000)

  • Best Art Direction: Rick Heinrichs; Set Decoration: Peter Young
  • Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Best Costume Design: Colleen Atwood

The Sixth Sense (2000):

  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor: Haley Joel Osment
  • Best Director: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Best Film Editing: Andrew Mondshein
  • Best Original Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan

Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1998):

  • Best Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Randal M. Dutra, Michael Lantieri

Se7en (1998)

  • Best Film Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce

Interview With the Vampire (1995)

  • Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Best Original Score: Elliot Goldenthal

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1995)

  • Best Makeup: Daniel Parker, Paul Engelen, Carol Hemming

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1993)

  • Best Costume Design: Eiko Ishioka
  • Best Sound Editing: Tom McCarthy and David E. Stone
  • Best Art Direction/Set Direction: Thomas Sanders; Set Decoration: Garrett Lewis

The Silence of the Lambs (1992):

  • Best Picture 
  • Best Director: Jonathan Demme 
  • Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins 
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jodie Foster 
  • Original Screenplay: Ted Talley 
  • Best Film Editing: Craig McKay
  • Best Achievement in Sound: Tom Fleischman and Christopher Newman.

Jurassic Park (1994):

  • Best Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Michael Lantieri
  • Best Sound Effects Editing, Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy, Ron Judkins 

Alien 3 (1993):

  • Best Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., George Gibbs

Misery (1991)

  • Best Actress: Kathy Bates 

Predator (1988):

  • Best Visual Effects: Joel Hynek, Robert M. Greenberg, Richard Greenberg, Stan Winston

The Fly (1987):

  • Best Makeup: Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis 

Aliens (1987)

  • Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver;
  • Best Visual Effects: Robert Skotak, Stan Winston, John Richardson, and Suzanne Benson 
  • Sound Effects Editing: Don Sharpe
  • Best Achievement in Sound: Graham V. Hartstone, Nicolas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter, Roy Charman
  • Best Art Direction: Peter Lamont; Set Decoration: Crispian Sallis
  • Best Original Score: James Horner
  • Best Film Editing: Ray Lovejoy

Little Shop of Horrors (1987)

  • Best Visual Effects: Lyle Conway, Bran Ferren, and Martin Gutteridge

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1987)

  • Best Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, John Bruno, Garry Waller, and William Neil

An American Werewolf in London (1984)

  •  Best Makeup: Rick Baker (winner)

Poltergeist (1982)

  • Best Visual Effects: Best Sound, Stephen Hunter Flick, and Richard L. Anderson

Altered States (1981)

  • Best Original Score: John Corigliano
  • Best Sound Mixing: Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Michael Minkler, and Willie D. Burton

The Amityville Horror (1980)

  • Best Original Score: Lalo Schifrin

Alien (1980):

  • Best Visual Effects: H.R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi, Brian Johnson, Nick Allder and Denys Ayling
  • Best Art Direction: Michael Seymour, Les Dilley, Roger Christian; Set Decoration: Ian Whittaker

Carrie (1977)

  • Best Actress: Sissy Spacek
  • Best Supporting Actress: Piper Laurie

The Omen (1977)

  • Best Original Score, Jerry Goldsmith
  • Best Original Song “The Omen”, Jerry Goldsmith.

King Kong (1977):

  • Special  Visual Effects: Carlo Rambaldi, Glen Robinson, Frank Van der Veer. WHOA! Really? I think Dino paid somebody off.
  • Best Achievement in Sound: Harry Warren Tetrick, William McCaughey, Aaron Rochin, Jack Solomon
  • Best Cinematography: Richard H. Kline

Jaws (1976)

  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound Editing: Robert L. Hoyt, Roger Heman, Earl Madery, and John Carter
  • Best Original Score, John Williams
  • Best Film Editing, Verna Field

The Exorcist (1974)

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director: William Friedkin
  • Best Actress: Ellyn Burstyn
  • Best Supporting Actress: Linda Blair
  • Best Original Screenplay: William Peter Blatty
  • Best Sound: Robert Knudson and Christopher Newman

Wait Until Dark (1968)

  • Best Actress: Audrey Hepburn

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

  • Best Supporting Actress: Ruth Gordon
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium: Roman Polanski

Kwaidan (1966)

  • Best Foreign Film

The Birds (1963):

  • Best Visual Effects: Ub Iwerks

Psycho (1961):

  • Best Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Best Supporting Actress: Janet Leigh
  • Best Cinematography-Black and White: John L. Russell
  • Best Art Direction/Set Direction Black and White: Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy; Set Decoration: George Milo

The Bad Seed (1956)

  • Best Actress: Nancy Kelly
  • Best Supporting Actress: Eileen Heckart
  • Best Supporting Actress: Patty McCormack
  • Best Cinematography, Black and White: Hal Rossan

Them! (1955):

  • Best Visual Effects: Warner Bros. Studio

Mighty Joe Young (1949)

  • Best Visual Effects (winner)

The Picture of Dorian Grey (1946)

  • Best Supporting Actress: Angela Lansbury
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black and White: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters; Interior Decoration: Edwin B. Willis, Hugh Hunt, John Bonar
  • Best Cinematography, Black and White: Harry Stradling

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1942)

  • Best Cinematography (Black and White): Joseph Ruttenberg
  • Best Film Editing: Harold F. Kress

Dr. Cyclops (1941):

  • Special Effects: Photographic Effects by Gordon Jennings, Farciot Edouart

The Bride of Frankenstein (1936)

  • Best Sound Recording: Gilbert Kurland, Sound Director

Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1933)

  • Best Actor: Frederic March (A tie! With Wallace Beery)
  • Best Cinematography: Karl Struss
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Percy Heath and Samual Hoffenstein


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