The Scariest Things Goes to the Oscars Part II: Horror Film Nomination Snubs

With the Oscars a mere week away, it’s time to recognize that the horror genre often gets consistently locked out of the big Hollywood party.  Here is an all-time list of the films and people who should have been nominated for each Academy category.

In Part I of The Scariest Things Goes to the Oscars, a complete list of the horror movies that received Oscar nominations and wins.  From that list, you’ll find that apart from Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects, horror film Oscar nominations are few and far between.  I determined to go category by category and list what I perceive to be snubs of horror movies that could and SHOULD have been nominated over their more generic counterparts.  When selecting these potential nominees, I tried to realistically consider movies that would suit most of the criteria that the Academy would consider in selecting a nominee, so as much as I love Night of the Living Dead, or Evil Dead II, or The Mist… they wouldn’t be realistic nominees.  I also tried to spread the wealth around. It was tempting to have a whole list of The Shining nominees, as so many of the categories would seem Oscar bait, from Jack Nicholson’s manic scenery-chewing portrayal of Jack Torrance to the cold and clean cinematography, but there were plenty of other deserving horror films that needed some love and it became clear that, if Hollywood would just get past their reservations of the genre, these people would have gotten their just due.

A couple of side notes:  If you think I missed a key nominee, go check Part I to see if they already had a nomination.  Also, the dates listed are tied to the Oscar award date, not the release date of the films.

I have decided to take into consideration the Each category has a nominee… even documentary and short films!  Do you agree with my list? Any other nominations you’d like to put forward?

Also, good luck to Get Out and Shape of Water!  Represent!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Shelley Duvall, The Shining (1981)
Instead of Diana Scarwid for Inside Moves

ATMOSfx! Woo!

Plain and simple, Shelley Duvall gave her psyche to this movie, and it showed.  And, she never really recovered from this film.  Stanley Kubrick pushed her to extremes during the shoot, forcing her to dig deeper and deeper until the terror she was showing on the screen was really terror she was feeling.  By many accounts, Kubrick had her do the legendary door breakdown scene 127 times until she convinced him it was good enough.  (BRUTAL!)  Not really the best director’s bedside manner, but it was a performance for the ages.  Jack Nicholson told Empire Magazine that her work was ““the toughest job [of] any actor that I’ve seen.”  Rarely, if ever has anyone conveyed abject bug-eyed, mouth agape terror like Duvall did in this film. There’s an argument that can be made her that she gets nominated for best actress in a leading role, instead.

Also Considered:
Sophia Lillis for It (2018)
Marcia Gay Harden for The Mist (2008)
Naomi Harris in 28 Days Later (2003)
Zelda Rubenstein in Poltergeist (1983)
Heather O’Rourke in Poltergeist (1983)
Veronica Cartwright in Alien (1980) (The closest thing to a full Duvall)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Robert Shaw, Jaws (1976).
Instead of Jack Warden for Shampoo


The character dynamics of Hooper-Brodie-Quint in Jaws is what elevates Jaws to the top shelf of horror movies.  Shaw’s cantankerous Quint chews up and owns every single scene he’s in.  Whether he’s growling out a sea chanty or shouting directions at Hooper, he’s what everyone expects in a salty dog fisherman.  He’s the rough masculine core to the trio, with Hooper’s intellect, and Brodie’s integrity.  Without Robert Shaw, Jaws would be devoid of much of the flavor of the film.  His storytelling of his experience with the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis alone is Oscar worthy.  Not only do I think Shaw should have been nominated, he should have won, over George Burns in The Sunshine Boys.

Also Considered:
LilRel Howery in Get Out (2018) (So funny!)
Stephen Lang in Don’t Breathe (2017)
Idris Elba for Pacific Rim (2015)
Nick Frost in Shaun of the Dead (2005)
Brendan Gleeson in 28 Days Later (2003)
Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein (1975)
Christopher Lee in The Wicker Man (1974)

Best Original Soundtrack, Michael Oldfield, The Exorcist (1974)
Should have replaced Cinderella Liberty, by John Williams.


The Exorcist started a trend in horror films, that of the jingling keyboards as a tone setter.  Both Suspiria and Halloween, two of the other great soundtracks took this theme to heart, and you can feel the through-line.   There have been several iconic soundtracks for horror films, with Jaws being the notable big winner.  The Exorcist should also have been nominated for its iconic score. Anybody ever heard of Cinderella Liberty?  Didn’t think so!

Also Considered:
Ramin Djawadi and Tom Morello for Pacific Rim (2015)
Ennio Morricone for The Thing (1983)
John Carpenter for Halloween (1979)
Goblin for Suspiria (1978)
Paul Giovanni for The Wicker Man (1974)
Bernard Herrman for Psycho (1961)

Best Achievement in Makeup: Bob Keen for Hellraiser (1988)
Instead of Happy New Year. (Or as a third nominee)


The whole movie was sold on the image of Doug Bradley’s Pinhead character on the movie poster.  It was so disturbing, and so… Goth, that it cemented this as a must-see horror film just to see what was up with this bizarre looking demon.  The film also featured a skinless man and several other nasty looking cenobites.  It’s a look that inspired a generation of death metal bands.  For the life of me, I do not remember the movie Happy New Year, apparently, it was Peter Falk in drag and old man makeup.  Lame.  Hellraiser should have been nominated and would have beaten the winner, Harry and the Hendersons.

This is a category that Horror does very well in, and many of the best got their proper nominations, so we’re not falling too short on snubs as of recent.  You also can be a pretty marginal movie, with great makeup so something like Thir13en Ghosts could have (and probably should have) been a nominee.
* The makeup award is a newer award category, with legendary Rick Baker winning the inaugural award for An American Werewolf in London in 1982.  Had the category been around earlier, The Exorcist would have been a shoo-in.

Also Considered:
Greg Nicotero for Drag Me to Hell (2010)
Jessica Elder for Cabin Fever (2003) Ewwww!!!
Scott Patten and Bernie Wrightson for Thir13en Ghosts (2002)
Tom Savini for Day of the Dead (1986)  More Ewww!!!
Jeff Dawn for The Terminator (1985)
* Dick Smith for The Exorcist (1974)
* Betty Lee for Night of the Demon (1958)
* Jack P. Pierce for The Wolfman (1942)
* Pauline Eels and Jack P. Pierce for Frankenstein (1932)

Best Achievement in Costumes (Black and White): Creature from the Black Lagoon (1955)
Instead of Executive Suite

The Gill Man
As you may know, The Scariest Things has a real soft spot for this golden oldie.  It’s the greatest man in a rubber suit of all time!  Well, maybe up until this year’s Shape of Water, which very much is the direct descendant of the Gill Ma.  Of all the matinee creature features, this is the costume that stands the test of time.  The detail and the layering of the suit are well detailed, and it needed to be submersible.  Plus, nobody had seen anything quite like this before… bonus points for inventiveness.  I looked at the costumes for Executive Suite… and they’re just three-piece suits and nicely cut business dresses!  I guarantee you that you can’t swim in those suits.  Goodby Executive Suite, hello Gill Man!

Also Considered:
Jenni Gullet for Thir13en Ghosts (2002)
Denise Cronenberg for ExistenZ (2000)
Sheena Napier for Ravenous (2000)
Jane Wildgoose for Hellraiser (1988)
John Mollo and HR Giger for Alien  (1980)
Molly Arbuthnot for The Horror of Dracula (1959)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Rob Bottin, The Thing (1983)
Instead of Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Murren, and Kennth F. Smith  for E.T. The Extraterrestrial


Bottin was so young when he did this, and it was so over the top and grotesque that I’m sure the Academy flinched when it came down to fully grasping what he was able to pull off.  However, six years later, they did properly honor and award an Oscar to the Fly for best makeup, so this shouldn’t have been a test.  Note that the prosthetics based award for makeup didn’t arrive until a year later… or this would have been in the running for a best Makeup award.  The visual effects category was pretty crowded in 1983, with E.T., Poltergeist, and Blade Runner all deserving and earning nominations.  In a good bit of revenge, it would have been great for the Thing to get the nod over E.T. as Spielberg’s film buried Carpenter’s at the box office.  (Much to John Carpenter’s chagrin, as he has expressed in the Thing DVD extras). The mechanics for the E.T. puppet were pretty good, but it can’t hold a candle to the unnerving practical effects that Bottin brought to the table.  The Thing’s effects still supremely effective today, and have aged much better than most all digital attempts at the same kind of thing.  Looking at you Resident Evil!

Also Considered:
John Knoll, James E Price, Clay Pinney, and Rocco Larizza for Pacific Rim (2015)
Andrew R. Jones, Jessica Norman, Matt Johnson and Scott Farrar for World War Z (2014)
Kevin Blank, Mike Ellis, and Eric Leven for Cloverfield (2009)
Steve Koch and Michael Broom for The Mist (2008)
Alex Bicknell, Alison O’Brien, Joel Hynek, and David B. Sharp for Event Horizon (1998)
Ray Harryhausen for The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1954)

Best Achievement in Sound: Richard Schorr for Predator (1988)
Instead of The Witches of Eastwick


The sounds in Predator are nothing short of iconic.  The odd reptilian/insectile gurgle of the Predator.  The VOOOOOM of the targeting mechanism of the Predator’s weaponry.  The crash through the jungle.  The concussion of firepower.  Like Aliens, nominated one year prior, the sound effects for Predator created a whole sound environment.  How it didn’t get nominated is rather astounding, as it did garner a best visual effects nomination.  Predator is a foley artist’s dream… and I could have seen this film winning over The Last Emporer, though that film too had a great soundscape.

Other Considerations:
David Barbee and Edmund Coblentz for Paranormal Activity  (2008)
Matthew Collinge and Danny Sheehan for The Descent (2006)
David Campling for the Terminator (1985)
David Lewis Yewdall and Colin C. Mouat for The Thing (1983)
William Russell and Waldon O. Watson for Psycho (1961)
Ichiro Minowa for Godzilla (1956)

Best Achievement in Cinematography: The Witch (2016), Jaren Blashke
Instead of Ed Lachman for Carol


While the 2016 Oscar winner The Revenant was hailed for Alejandro Innaritu’s use of natural daylight, there was another film that year that did the exact same thing, and to similarly great effect.  Both the Revenant and the Witch are pre-industrial historical pieces, made all that more convincing by using only daylight and candlelight.  For Blashke, not only did he frame and shoot a beautifully desaturated film, his close-ups and crops were used to excellent effect, none more so than the infamous peek-a-boo disappearance.  It was a great year for cinematography (Hateful Eight, Mad Max Fury Road, and Sicario also were also nominated) I would punt Carol in favor of the Witch.

Also Considered:
Anthony Dod Mantle for 28 Days Later (2003)
Darius Khondji for Se7en (1996)
John Alcott for The Shining (1981)
Davis Boulton for The Haunting (1964)
Karl Freund for Dracula (1931)

Best Art Direction: Suspiria (1978) David Bassan.
Instead of George C. Webb for Airport 1977.


Star Wars won in 1978, and should have.  But Suspiria was so jarringly punctuated by its psychedelic palette, that it should have earned some credit.  It also is a more lasting and important foreign film than any of the actual nominees, but I suspect that this would have been a tough pill for the Academy to swallow.  The lovely art nouveau touches, echoing Victor Horta and Hector Guimard,  and the strong primary palette stands out in any movie crowd. How can something so evil be so pretty?  Watch!

Also Considered:
Karen Hannaford and Alex Holmes for The Babadook (2016)
Tamara Deverell for Existenz (2000)
Malcolm Middleton for Event Horizon (1998)
Leslie Tomkins for The Shining (1981)
Seamus Flannery for The Wicker Man (1973)

Best Achievement in Film Editing: Daniel Myric and Eduardo Sanches for The Blair Witch Project (2000)
Instead of Lisa Zeno Churgin for The Cider House Rules


Hear me out.  The Blair Witch Project is as simple as a film can be.  However, the power of the film had a lot to do with how convincing this was as a true piece of found footage.  To pull this off Myrick and Sanchez, also the Directors of the film, had to piece together whatever footage they had and make it feel like a devolving documentary.  They provided the full template of how to do a proper found footage film and convinced enough people to get $248 million out of a $60,000 budget.  It’s a testament to the efficiency and eye of these two to create a taut docu-thriller.  There have been legions of imitators, but no found footage film has yet to top the original.

Also Considered:
Eric L. Beason, Louise Ford, and Gardner Gould for Don’t Breathe (2017)
Richard Francis-Bruce for Se7en (1996)
Kaye Davis for Evil Dead II (1988) A very longshot… I know.
Todd W. Ramsay for The Thing (1983)
Jim Wilkinson for Psycho (1961)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ju-On (The Grudge) (Japan) (2003)
Instead of The Man Without a Past (Finland)


The 90’s was a wasteland for good horror films.  The trend at the time was to go cheap and go straight to video, interspersed with tired franchises and sequelitis.  Along come the Japanese and their intense and legitimately scary properties.  Along with Ringu (The Ring), Kairo (Pulse), and Audition, J-Horror was instrumental in putting the scary back into scary movies.  Tops amongst these films is the claustrophobic Ju-On.  Hollywood recognized a good thing and made a western version of this, which surprisingly was pretty good, but the source material is where you want to go for this vicious ghost story, which will make you fear small pale children.  Korea too has been producing great horror films of late, and the current smart, indy horror environment owes a huge debt to J-Horror.  As for what Ju-On replaces… take your pick.  As good as any of the actual nominees, I don’t think any of them has the lasting impact that Ju-On does.

# The Academy Awards started in 1922 so these films could not have garnered awards.

Also Considered:
Train To Busan, South Korea (2018)
Raw, France  (2018)
Under the Shadow, Iran (2017)
REC, Spain (2003)
Ringu, Japan (1999)
Suspiria, Italy (1977)
Godzilla,  Japan (1957)
# Nosferatu, Germany (1922)
# The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Best Documentary, Long Form

Lifetime Achievement Award, the Universal Monster Legends:  Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi (1955)

It is a crime that the Academy never made an homage to the great Universal Monsters, in a way that would recognize the contributions of the genre to the popularity of film. The Lifetime Achievement Award often gets presented to people who did not get awarded for their work, when it was released, and get recognized once in the full measure of history, it is clear that they were important.  Karloff and Lugosi were standard bearers, and deserved to be recognized.  In a gentler age, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, and The Black Cat were the scary standard, despite being considered quaint by today’s bloody expectations.  The two men, both being Universal contract actors worked together frequently, and became inextricably linked.  This would have been an award to be handed out sometime in the mid 1950’s, as the careers of all three men were rather on the outs, and before Lugosi passed away in 1957.  Poor Bela was relegated famously to low budget schlock like Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Abbott and Costello were keeping the identity of these monsters firmly in the kids fare.  To see these two icons on the stage to receive their due would have been wonderful to see… alas… it was not to be.

Also considered:
George Romero
Ray Harryhausen
Vincent Price
Wes Craven
Roger Corman
John Carpenter (It’s not too late!)

Best Documentary (Feature): Beware the Slenderman (2016) by Irene Taylor Brodsky
Instead of… this might be a stretch of a nomination.
Beware the Slenderman

Full admission.  I didn’t think I would find a genre film to fit this category, but I managed to find a few.  Second Full admission.  I didn’t even try to find a documentary short form for horror.  However, Beware the Slenderman is a legitimate look into kids taking an urban legend, an internet viral meme… too far.  It is troubling, and sad, and a cautionary tale about why we have movie rating systems, and the danger of not paying attention to what your kids are up to.  Is it OSCAR worthy?  I’m not certain, as I am not familiar with the competition.  It is a good film, however, and it covers an important topic. A tough call for all of these films.

Also Considered:
Fake Blood (2018) by Rob Grant:
Rob Grant and Mike Kovac receive a disturbing fan video inspired by their previous horror movie Mon Ami, motivating them to investigate the responsibility of filmmakers in portraying violence in movies. In their pursuit of the truth they are unwittingly introduced to the real world of violent criminals and their victims. Fascinating!

Room 237 (2013) by Rodney Asher.
An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. This one would stand a fighting chance at really getting a nomination, as it was heavily awarded on the independent film circuit.

Going to Pieces, The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2007)
This one is up my alley.  Trying to come to grips with why the horror movie genre failed in the 1990’s, and an examination of the state of the slasher film.  Not really Oscar worthy… but it is worth horror fans checking it out!

Best Short Film (Live Action): Lights Out (2015) by David F. Sandberg
Instead of… take your pick.

In a world of low budget genres, the lowest budget possible for the largest emotional impact is a short horror film, and no short film in memory had an effect like Lights Out. The little two-minute forty-second film condenses the primal fear of the dark into its absolute essence.  You will not find a more effective implementation of the jump scare in any movie of any length, than the scares in this little film.  It was so good that they made a fairly effective full-length feature film last year for it.  When researching horror short films, it becomes evident that the lights-on, lights-off trope is a favorite trick, as are simple tricks like doors opening and closing.  Every filmmaker has to start somewhere, right?

I guarantee that I’m missing some films here, but I think the following films deserve a nod. This may have to become a Scariest Things new feature: Horror Shorts!

He Dies At the End (2011):  By Damian McCarthy. Anxiety filled short film, that makes you grin and wince with anticipation.  I can easily put myself into this dude’s shoes.

Don’t Move (2014): By Anthony Melton. Not to be confused with Don’t Breathe, this short film is a gory game of freeze tag with a demon.  I like the way the director places the “breadcrumbs” for the conclusion.  Not for the squeamish!

2AM: The Smiling Man (2014): by Michael Evans. This one will stick with me.  It’s the nightmare of being followed by somebody behaving very bizarrely.  I’ve been in this situation where I’m waiting for a light-rail train, and there is some weirdo who is just following me around.  CREEPY!

Best Original Screenplay: Jennifer Kent for The Babadook (2014)
Instead of Wes Anderson for Grand Budapest Hotel
babadook read

An unfortunate truth about horror films is that they are mostly derivative.  Whether that means that the movies are sequels, or that they are adapted from other media, identifying an original horror flick that is also Oscar-worthy becomes tricky.  Look up your favorite horror film, and you’ll probably find an adapted source material. Fortunately, in this new Golden Age of Horror, production companies like A24 and Blumhouse are looking for original ideas above all else.  Stepping into this new environment is the Causeway produced film, The Babadook, writer-director Jennifer Kent’s examination of depression and loss framed by a mother trying to cope with her grief and care for her equally traumatized son.  It’s a bold take for a horror film, and it unpacks a lot of psychological tension.  2015 had a bunch of very interesting original screenplays (Birdman won) But I would put the Babadook in instead of Grand Budapest Hotel.  Maybe it’s that Wes Anderson’s quirky methodology sometimes comes off as smug… but I would suggest that the Babadook carries as much critical heft as the GBH.
Also Considered:
Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues for Don’t Breathe (2017)
Alex Garland for 28 Days Later (2004)
Dan O’ Bannon and Ronald Shusett for Alien (1980)
James Ashmore Creelman for King Kong (1934)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman for  It (2018)
Instead of Mudbound.

Pennywise in the attic

As noted in the original screenplay description, there is a wealth of opportunity for nominations for best-adapted screenplay. Taking one of Stephen King’s best books, a gigantic tome at that, and creating a tightly scripted, punchy update was a huge undertaking.  The expectation levels from fans were very high, and this adaptation exceeded the beloved TV mini-series, though admittedly, being able to do an R-Rated adaptation made things easier.  Each of the kids was given a starring role, and the pacing and the story were tight and even though it ran long for a horror movie (2 hrs. 15 minutes) the time flew.  In a year that offered up several terrific horror films, this one proved to be the most crowd-pleasing, and well-received of the lot.  I have not yet seen Mudbound, but I’m still not convinced that a Netflix movie, a non-theatrically released movie should be considered for the Oscars, though it certainly would be eligible for the Emmys.

Also Considered:
William Goldman for Misery (1991) based on the novel by Stephen King.
Bill Lancaster for The Thing (1983) based on the short story “Who Goes There” by John W. Campbell.
Stanley Kubrick for The Shining (1981) based on the novel by Stephen King (King would disagree with this, btw)
Albert Lewin for The Picture of Dorian Grey (1946) based on the novel by Oscar Wylde
Samuel Hoffenstein for Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1932) based on the story by Robert Louis Stephenson
John L. Balderston for Frankenstein (1932) based on the novel by Mary Shelley
(Watch this spot for Annihilation next year!)

 Best Actress in a Leading Role: Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby
Instead of Patricia Neal in The Subject wore Roses.


Mia Farrow’s portrayal of Rosemary is a tour de force, going through a huge emotional arc, and has to carry all of the psychological heft of the picture… which was quite a huge load to carry.  This is the film that made Farrow a star, and all of the delicate quirks that became a calling card for her later in her career were in full effect in this movie.  Remember, this was not a jump-scare-filled feature, and it was up to Farrow to convey all the dread and fear for this film to work.

Also Considered:
Essie Davis in The Babadook (2015)
Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring (2014)
JoBeth Williams in Polgergeist (1983) (It’s a trifecta of great performances in Poltergeist!)
Jaime Lee Curtis in Halloween (1979)
Tippi Hedren in The Birds (1964)
Elsa Lanchester in The Bride of Frankenstein (1936)
Fay Wray for King Kong (1934)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Goldblum, The Fly (1986)
Instead of James Woods in Salvador.  (Or maybe Dexter Gordon in Birdland… but I know the academy was looking to diversify their nominations, and I’ll applaud that effort.)


This is Jeff Goldblum looking his very best, and his very worst.  His prideful mad scientist gets knocked down several pegs, and as he descends into monstrousness, his pathos comes out.  He is a deeply sympathetic hero and villain of this film.  The chemistry with Geena Davis is evident, and as no surprise, they fell in love in this production and ended up getting married. How Goldblum is able to emote through all the massive prosthetic and make-up work (which DID win an Oscar) is hugely impressive.  Goldblum went full mime in exaggerating his insectoid infused motions and is able to convey so much with a darting, dare I say, bug-eyed twitch.  His Seth Brundle pulls off the near impossible, by making him a more endearing character, the more disgusting his outward appearance became.

Surprisingly, only Daniel Kaluuya, Anthony Hopkins, and Frederic March have ever been nominated for Best Actor, relative to horror movies… so there is a significant and compelling list of actors who got snubbed.

Also Considered:
James McAvoy in Split (2018)
Taika Waititi in What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead (2005)
Morgan Freeman in Se7en (1996)
Michael Rooker in Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer (1987)
Jack Nicholson in The Shining (1982)
George C. Scott in The Changeling (1981)
Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979)
Anthony Perkins in Psycho (1961)
Vincent Price in The House of Usher (1961)
Claude Rains in The Invisible Man (1934)
Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1932)

Best Director, Stanley Kubrik, The Shining (1981)
Should have replaced Roman Polanski for Tess.


Par for the course for Stanley Kubrick, the Shining is an obsessive piece of film work.  Every shot, every little acting nuance was perfected.  The overall feel of the movie is chilling and startlingly beautiful.  I am still stunned at how poor a reception this got from the movie press at the time, and it received little to no love at the awards season in 1981.  Now, it is considered by many to be a top 5 horror movie of all time.  (Not on my personal list, but I certainly have total respect for the Shining.) The downside to this selection is that, as mentioned in the Shelley Duvall comments, Kubrick could be a total dick, and a bully on set.  But, the final product is stunning!  Roman Polanski should have a lifetime ban from the Oscars, for his pedophilia and rape charges… and even then, The Shining is a better movie than Tess.  Robert Redford won for Ordinary People, but the winner in 1981 should have been Martin Scorsese for Raging Bull.

*I had to include some directors of films that were once reviled, but are now considered classics… and I’m double dipping into the Best Picture for these films that would never have been nominated in the day, but would need to be part of the conversation in hindsight.

Also Considered:
Taika Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows (2016)
Jessica Davis for The Babadook (2015)
James Wan, for The Conjuring (2014)
Danny Boyle for 28 Days Later (2004)
James Cameron for Aliens (1987)
*John Carpenter for The Thing (1983)
Ridley Scott for Alien (1980)
Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein (1975)
*George Romero for Night of the Living Dead (1968)
*Tod Browning for Freaks (1933)

Best Picture: King Kong (1934)
Instead of… Smilin Through, State Fair, Lady for a Day, She Done Him Wrong, or I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang.  All forgettable compared to Kong.

King Kong Pteradactyl

Back in 1934, the Oscars… and film… were fairly new productions.  They didn’t even have a Best Picture category in 1934, but they had something called Outstanding Production.  The winner that year was Cavalcade, a period piece drama… and I did recognize A Farewell to Arms, Little Women, 42nd Street and The Private Life of Henry the VIII. But there were five other films, that have been forgotten to the annals of history.  The literal 10,000 lb gorilla in the room was that King Kong was not nominated and it became one of the most revered films of all time.  How this couldn’t land on one of the ten best films of 1933 is unforgivable.  The effects and the art direction are phenomenal even today, and the acting is so very of the age.  The magic still lives on as one of the greatest creations put to celluloid.

+ It gets easier to include current best picture nods, since the Academy is selecting up to ten nominees.  Clearly that benefits Get Out this year… though there is a strong argument that Get Out would have been nominated if they still only had five selections.

Also Considered:
+ Don’t Breathe (2017)
+ What We do in the Shadows (2017)
+ The Conjuring (2014)
Aliens (1987)
*The Thing (1983)
The Shining (1982)
Alien (1980)
*Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Psycho (1961)
*Freaks (1933)

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