2018 was another strong year for horror. There were several indie films that made waves, such as Mandy, Terrified, and Revenge, but two films specifically broke into the mainstream, generated buzz and conversation, and were deserving of the Academy’s attention. I am talking about A Quiet Place and Hereditary. Both films were snubbed, though A Quiet Place did earn a nomination for Sound Editing. That said, I’m not surprised that the horror genre has once again been shut out of the awards season, even if the genre has been earning more and more attention over the last five years or so. Last year, I argued that Get Out deserved Oscar nominations, and it did receive a few, including Best Picture. Jordan Peele, meanwhile, won an Oscar for the screenplay. When writing about Get Out, I noted that very, very few horror films have ever won an Oscar. The Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture in 1992. The Exorcist was nominated for several Oscars, but only scored two for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing.
A Quiet Place is at least deserving of a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, which was penned by John Krasinski. The film is one of the most innovative horror movies of the last decade, a metaphor on grief and losing a child. While the film may not be the first to use sound, or a lack of sound, so effectively in the genre (think Hush or Don’t Breathe), it does so in a way that makes us really feel for the family, especially after the tragedy that occurs within the first fifteen minutes. Additionally, the film contains strong performances by Krasinski and Emily Blunt, who do everything they can as parents to keep their children safe and alive. We generally want them to survive, especially after they endure one calamity after another.
(Toni Collette as Annie in Hereditary)
Hereditary is a much more difficult film to watch. It begins with a funeral for the family’s matriarch, and within the first half an hour, it takes a sudden twist with the loss of another major character. Yet, it’s one of the strongest portrayals of grief that I’ve ever seen on film, let alone the horror genre. Furthermore, Toni Collette’s performance as Annie is never-jangling. Her facial expressions alone are powerful and unnerving. She is a mother who can’t take anymore loss. Additionally, I think the film should have received nominations for Best Director (Ari Aster), Best Original Screenplay, and perhaps, maybe even Best Picture. Yet, it was totally shut out…
So, after giving a single Oscar to Jordan Peele last year, which was well-deserved, it looks like the Academy is back to ignoring the horror genre. Meanwhile, fans can continue enjoying the state of horror right now because there’s a lot to be excited about, even if the Academy doesn’t think so. Horror is having a moment.
What do you think about the Oscar nominations? Were A Quiet Place and Hereditary deserving of the Academy’s attention? Feel free to let me know what you think.