Scariest Things: For Your Consideration 2019

Is there anything this year that reaches Get Out level Oscar Worthiness? TST handicaps the Oscar Odds.

2017 was a bit of a watershed for the genre. Get Out got nominated for best picture, best actor, best original screenplay, and best director, and won for screenplay. A movie featuring an inhuman monster and a very human monster won Best Picture, in The Shape of Water. Horror adjacent, but it showed a willingness to accept the fantastic. Now comes 2018, with its own slate of winning propositions. But, is the Oscar voting block ready for more of the scary?

Historically speaking, horror has been left at the kid’s table on Oscar night. But there have been a few breakthroughs. Are there any such possibilities this year, given what a strong slate horror had to offer? There are a couple of chances, but no front-runner picturess like Get Out and Shape of Water this year, but there are definitely some opportunities for Hollywood gold statuettes! Let’s take a look at what the chances may be for the genre this year.

Best Chances:

Scary DVDs! Woo!
Toni Collette and Alex Wolff in Hereditary (2018)

Toni Collette, Hereditary
Odds of a nomination: 60%
Odds of an Oscar win: 25%
As soon as I saw Hereditary, I realized that this was a performance for the ages. Snot dripping, wild-eyed, and every emotion in Collette’s arsenal was brought to bear. She has already WON the award for Best Actress from the Boston Online Film Critic’s Association, The Chicago Film Critic’s Association, The Detroit Film Critics Society, The Gotham Awards, The International Online Cinema Awards, The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards, the Nevada Film Critics Society, The Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the Seattle Film Critics Awards. So it would appear that she not only is a strong candidate to get a nomination but might actually win the Oscar!

A Quiet Place, Erik Aahdahl – editor, Michael Barosky – Sound Mixer.
My Odds of a nomination: 90%
Odds of winning the Oscar: 75%
This is probably the best chance at an Oscar win for a horror genre film. The sound environment they created was so critical to the success of this runaway hit, that it was essential to the experience. And, there are no big war movies up this year, which are always big contenders. Silence indeed could be very golden, quite possibly twice for the sound crew of A Quiet Place. They have already won the Hollywood Film Awards, The International Online Cinema Award, The Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the Satellite Award for Sound Editing and Mixing.

Suspiria, Mark Coulier, Makeup Prosthetics Designer
My Odds for a Nomination: 60%
Odds of Winning an Oscar: 20%
They fooled me. I was completely tricked by Tilda Swinton playing an old man. And, also fooled in seeing her play a goopy, sloppy witch. The Academy tends to be generous with horror movies in this category, and this is by far the best horror makeup of the year. Granted, this award is going to be a runaway win for Vice, with Christian Bale in an unrecognizable transformation into a plump, balding Dick Cheney, just as Darkest Hour transformed Gary Oldman into a plump, balding Winston Churchill and got an Oscar. Bohemian Rhapsody also will likely score a nomination for turning Rami Malek into a very toothy Freddy Mercury, but I think Suspiria is going to be right alongside those two favorites.

Outside Chances:

John Krasinksi, Bryan Woods, and Scott Beck for: A Quiet Place
My odds of a nomination: 35%
Odds of winning an Oscar: 20%
The breathtaking (literally) efficiency which this story unfolded was like a beautiful origami puzzle box. It was tense, efficient script and every foreshadowing moment they set up landed like a ton of bricks. Much like Get Out from last year, this may be where the genre gets some love. It has won for best Screenpklay from The Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards and the Media Access Awards, and was nominated by the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, The Fright Meter Awards, The Sattelite Awards, and The San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.

Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place
My odds of a nomination: 20%
Odds of winning an Oscar: 5%
It’s been a really good year for Emily, but that might actually make it more difficult for her to win an Oscar, if she splits her support with Mary Poppins Returns. Hard to believe but A Quiet Place actually has outperformed her Disney outing! $332,583,000 for A Quiet Place and $261,621,000 for Mary Poppins Returns, granted that film still has a bit of theatrical run left. A question would be, though… leading role or supporting role? For A Quiet Place, Blunt has managed to score nominations from the populist side of the awards, garnering A People’s Choice, An MTV Movie + TV Award, and probably most importantly the Screen Actor’s Guild Award nod, which is one of the best indicators for the Oscars.

Suspiria; Thom Yorke, Composer
My odds of a nomination 30%
Odds of winning an Oscar 30%
Speaking of having a good year, how about Thom Yorke? Radiohead just got selection for induction into the Rock and Roll HOF (no big surprise) but, they got in on their first try. Suspiria had a lot to live up to, as the original movie is a cult favorite and the original soundtrack by Goblin is equally beloved. Luca Guadagnino managed to keep the spirit of the original and make it into a headier, more involved story while managing to provide his own unique twist on the witchy tale. Too bad there isn’t a Best Dance Sequence Oscar, like there is in the Emmys because Suspiria would win that running away. As it stands, the soundtrack stands a pretty good shot at getting a nomination, as its keening and slightly atonal atmospherics proved powerful in support of Suspiria’s imagery.

BEST ART DIRECTION (or maybe Cinematography or Visual Effects):
Annihilation, Gareth Cousins
My odds of a nomination 20%
Odds of winning an Oscar 10%
Alex Garland’s team of visual artists, including Cousins, DP Rob Hardy, and production designer Mark Digby managed to pull off one of the most mesmerizing and surreal films of recent memory, in any genre. The dreamy, colorful, and disturbing imagery transformed author Jeff VanderMeer’s complex novel and took the audience through the looking glass into something completely alien and weirdly wonderful. As powerful as the imagery was in this film, it will probably be battling it out with the period piece dramedy The Favorite and probably the insanely popular Black Panther, who would likely be favorites here. Annihilation has won a Visual Effects Award from the Chicago Film Critics Association, The Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the Fright Meter Awards. It also has been nominated for Art Direction by the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, and the International Online Cinema Awards. Outside chance that Annihilation also gets a nod for Sound Editing, but I suspect the best shot is Art Direction.

Long Shots

Tumbbad, India
Chance of Nomination: 1%
Chance of Winning an Oscar 1%
OK… listen up Bollywood. Submit this film for your Best Foreign Language Candidate. This was the first Indian film ever to be admitted into the Venice Film Festival for its premiere. This is far and away the best horror film that has ever come out of India, and it is a beautiful melancholy tale of greed, corruption, and is steeped in Indian culture. You only get a chance if you enter the fray… so make this your submission! Roma looks to be the big winner here, but the rest of the films would be a crapshoot, so Tumbbad would stand a chance!

Milly Shapiro, Hereditary
Chance of nomination: 5%
Chance of winning: 1%
Admit it. You probably thought Charlie was going to be a Damien source of evil in Hereditary, didn’t you? Also, admit that you thought that Symonds was a downright creepy kid. Her ten-mile stare. Her disaffected odd personality quirks that made you suspect she had a bit of a social disorder (oh, and did she ever.) And her losing battle with the telephone pole. (CLUCK!)

Milicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place
Chance of Nomination: 5%
Chance of Winning: 1%
Simmonds provided the OTHER great child acting performance in the genre this year. And she’s DEAF! Her frustrated tween portrayal was believable and her expressive countenance was invaluable throughout the movie. There’s a real chance here, because she’s got a great back-story, and not since Marlee Matalin has there been a deaf actress receiving a nomination. Working against Simmonds is that Emily Blunt would be the more popular supporting actress proposition, but you never know.

Logan Marshall-Green, Upgrade
Chance of Nomination 1%
Chance of Winning an Oscar 1%
OK, this isn’t going to happen. But if there were any justice in the world, they would make room for Marshall-Green. Upgrade is destined to be a bloody cult genre classic, alongside Robocop, Predator, and Logan. Marshall-Green manages to play a man under control by something else in a startling and amusing way that requires a whole lot of dramatic chops. His quadriplegic Grey is a sympathetic character, and you buy every ounce of his conundrum. This was a breakout performance by him, with wry humor, kick-ass kung fu, and real struggle portrayed.

Brittany Allen, What Keeps You Alive
Chance of Nomination: 1%
Chance of Winning: 1%
Another effort that is probably almost registering as Not a Snowball’s chance in hell. But, this was probably my favorite performance outside of Toni Collette of any actress this year. Her slightly butch and perceptive portrayal of Jules was spot on. She took the role of the sane half of a lesbian married couple and gave the character real depth, and the relationship had real resonance. There wasn’t any play-acting here. A powerhouse performance, and the best of her career that hopefully will lead to bigger opportunities in the future.

The Academy Award Nominations will be announced on January 22. Keep your eyes on this Blog, as we will be doing our own version of this.. the Thingies, which will nominate our awards candidates!

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