It’s no secret that the most successful movie of the year doesn’t always win—or even get nominated at the Oscars.
In fact, the Academy has a nasty habit of completely disregarding entire genres of film when they compose their list of nominations, particularly horror movies. Horror films are incredibly popular among the public, as for example, “in 2016, the average Rotten Tomatoes critical score for those top six horror movies was 82 percent. That’s about 10 percent lower than the average for the best picture nominees, and significantly higher than the average for most other genres,” according to CNET.
With such impressive ratings and massive success, horror movies deserve to compete at the Oscars in their own specific category. Doing so would allow the hard work of casts and crews to be rightfully recognized without being overshadowed by the major box office films.
In the entire history of the Oscars, only one horror film has ever won best picture: The Silence of the Lambs, according to Mic.
This statistic is extremely disappointing; the purpose of the Oscars is to celebrate and praise the best films, which makes it disgraceful to dismiss an entire genre by only having one horror movie winner and a handful of nominees across the almost 90-year history of the awards.
“In 2016, six of the top 100 grossing movies of the year were horror flicks, and 23 of those top 100 were nominated for an Oscar in at least one category. Even if the Academy chose those 23 nominees randomly, they’d have only a 20 percent chance not to pick a single horror movie,” according to CNET.
For some reason, the Academy is hesitant to include the horror genre. While it is obvious that the horror genre does not appeal to everyone and can result in some disturbing or troublesome films, this should not inhibit its appreciation as an art form. Horror, as a genre, has also created numerous pop-culture phenomena, which proves horror deserves professional recognition.
It is clear that the Oscars are all about money, which makes the rejection of horror films all the more peculiar. The most profitable movie of all time, “based on costs and return investment,” is Paranormal Activity, as reported by Screen Geek. The site goes on to say, “in fact, out of the top 10 most profitable films based on cost, half of them are horror.”
An Oscar nomination only raises the profitability of the movies chosen. In fact, “ticket sales see, on average, a 22 percent bump, and DVD sales do just as well,” according to Screen Geek. This being said, it makes practical business sense to give horror films their own category, allowing the five or so nominated each year to bring in massive amounts of cash.
“And before you say it’s only an awards show, the Academy canonizes film in a way nothing else can,” CNET reminds readers. Films recognized at the Oscars will always be one quick internet search away, preventing them from ever slipping through the cracks as time passes by.
Horror movies, however, are constantly forgotten as each year brings new work to the screen. Without the possibility of Academy recognition, the only hope horror films have of being remembered is by becoming a chance cultural sensation, such as the recent remake of Stephen King’s It or The Babadook.
Horror is an acquired taste, but that does not mean the hard work and dedication of actors, directors and crewmembers working in the genre should go unnoticed. Adding a horror category to the Oscars would be extremely beneficial and allow for the inclusion of many individuals working just as vigorously as Hollywood’s biggest names.