Ranking the only horror movies to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar – Far Out Magazine

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Horror films have long received a bad reception from critics and audiences alike, who are all too quick to disregard their violent thrills for mere ‘frivolous fun’, ignorant of their artistic intentions. The annual Academy Awards join in this apathy, favouring films that uphold American patriotism or contain politically important messages relating to war, drama or grand romance. When it comes to critical acclaim, horror is all too regularly treated with unfair disdain. 
Horror cinema has long suffered from a lack of representation at the awards show, with classics like The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, The Thing by John Carpenter and The Wicker Man by Robin Hardy each being snubbed by the Oscars. In fact, ever since the start of the ceremony’s history, only six horror films have ever been nominated for Best Picture, with the majority leaning on the ‘thriller’ side of the genre.
As the Academy continues to ignore the successes of the horror genre, it is up to critics and audiences to sing the praises of 28 Days Later by Danny Boyle, The Babadook by Jennifer Kent and Ari Aster’s Hereditary, each of which should have been honoured at the awards show. With only six horror movies being nominated for Best Picture across the course of almost a century of Oscar history, let’s take a look at the best and worst films of the genre that have been given the nod. 
The 2010 movie Black Swan by American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky takes the last spot on our list of the best horror films to be nominated for Best Picture for the simple reason that we don’t even consider it a horror film. Aronofsky’s film about a committed dancer who struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the leading role in Swan Lake is more of a sinister drama, or, at a push, horror-lite. 
Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel, the drama is still a pretty great one, taking inspiration from Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue to tell the story of a fractured mind put under the scrutiny of the public limelight. 
Speaking of borderline horror movies, die-hard genre fans might have a few things to say about M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Sixth Sense being labelled as a horror film, with the drama better pertaining to the thriller genre. Nonetheless, the film certainly has horror elements, with Shyamalan injecting his iconic style into the film with terrific critical and commercial success, leading him to further success in the 21st century
Not only did the film secure a Best Picture nod, but Shyamalan’s iconic 1990s flick was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for the young Haley Joel Osment. 
It’s fair to say that the American filmmaker and comedian Jordan Peele changed the landscape of horror cinema when he released Get Out in 2017, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lakeith Stanfield and Caleb Landry Jones. Telling the story of a black photographer who goes to visit his white girlfriend’s parent’s family over a long weekend, Peele’s tale is a frenetic horror/thriller. 
Gaining nominations in four different categories, including Best Picture, Get Out was also honoured with Best Actor and Best Director, taking home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
The second iteration of serial killer Hannibal Lecter in cinema, Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, is a crime thriller with serious bite with help from a delightfully shocking performance from Anthony Hopkins. Based on the novel of the same name and series of books following the serial killer from author Thomas Harris, Demme’s film tails along with a young F.B.I cadet seeking help from an incarcerated cannibal in an effort to track down another vicious serial killer. 
Demme’s film deserves some credit here for being the only one to actually take home the Oscar for Best Picture, but we think there are other horror movies that were worthy of the top two spots.
Jaws, the film that made a whole generation of people terrified of sharks, is recognised as one of the best movies of the 1970s for good reason. A tension-filled stress ball of a movie, not only is it one of Steven Spielberg’s finest works, but it is also one of the finest horror movies of all time. Telling the story of a killer shark who attacks the beach of Amity Island and torments beach-goers, Spielberg’s classic was unlucky not to win Best Picture. 
The only reason why it didn’t take home the award was that 1975 was an extraordinary year for cinema, with Jaws having to compete with Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, the Al Pacino crime classic Dog Day Afternoon, Robert Altman’s Nashville and Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for the top prize.
William Friedkin’s 1973 film The Exorcist is considered one of the best horror movies of all time, effortlessly taking the top spot on our list. As well as a terrifying depiction of demonic possession, Friedkin tells a compelling tale about lost faith with a prestigious cast of Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow and Lee J. Cobb helping to bring the movie to life. 
As the highest-grossing movie of 1973, the film earned ten nominations at the 1974 Oscars, including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

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