I’m not proud of it, but I am a bit of an awards show junkie. I love watching the fashion parade on the red carpet, I love hearing the acceptance speeches, and I love seeing awkward celebrity moments. But as a horror fan, I read today’s list of Oscar nominations fully expecting to see every other film genre represented and horror left out in the cold again. To my shock and delight, I was wrong: not only was last year’s horror hit Get Out nominated, but it was nominated for four major awards. Writer/director Jordan Peele made history as the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay in the same year, and star Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor. I’m thrilled for them, but I’m also thrilled for horror fans in general. Horror deserves more mainstream recognition, and Get Out‘s nominations shine the spotlight on our twisted little corner of the pop culture landscape.
Get Out is a brilliant satire of race relations in America – with the Sunken Place, Peele shows how white liberals feign allyship and talk about how much they love Obama but can’t (or won’t) acknowledge that their own racist beliefs and actions continue to oppress African-Americans. It’s also a damn good horror movie. (If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m not going to spoil the plot for you here, but there will be spoilers aplenty with all the press attention that the nominations will bring. Hie thee hence to Netflix.) The quick and brutal opening scene immediately puts you on edge, but the rest of the movie takes its time; you almost forget about that opening shock as the story unfolds, slowly filling you with dread and unease until the pieces fall into place and you understand the full horror of the film. The running scene in particular is creepy as hell, and I still don’t understand how actor Marcus Henderson didn’t break his ankle when he made that sharp right turn.
Congratulations to Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya, and congratulations to the Academy for hopefully beginning a new era where they recognize and celebrate the importance of horror cinema.
What do you think of this year’s nominations? Do you have any picks for past horror movies that should have been nominated for Best Picture? I would have loved for The Haunting, John Carpenter’s The Thing, or 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers to be recognized by the Academy. Let me know about your picks in the comments.