Contrary to popular belief, the horror genre isn’t dead to the Academy. Even though most genre films tend to get overshadowed come Oscar night, there’s no need for any sentiments of “abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Horror, science fiction, and fantasy often take a backseat to stereotypical Oscar bait, but period dramas and war epics hardly have a monopoly on awards season. They’re few and far between, but every so often, horror films pull off a real-life twist ending, not just earning an Oscar nomination, but ultimately winning the gold. These bloody, sleep-wrecking sheets of celluloid haven’t just managed to crawl under audiences’ skin, but bolster a particular type of pedigree which the Academy feeds on like the bloodthirsty cinephile vampires they are.
Not that anyone’s complaining. For all the crap that the Academy is given over their sometimes insufferable penchant for often snubbing more deserving films, they sometimes pull through. Every now and then, they do a solid for all the worthy motion picture monsters. So, just in case the Oscars are dead to you, it won’t hurt giving them credit where it’s due. Keep reading to check out 16 Horror Movies That Won Oscars.
To truly gauge what sort of horror films a person likes, you only need to ask them this one question: “Alien or Aliens?” These films both exist in the same cinematic universe, and one follows directly after the other, but they still represent two very different sub-genres within horror.
On one hand, you’ve got the Ridley Scott-directed claustrophobic slow burn that is Alien, and on the other hand, you’ve got the James Cameron-directed shoot ’em up creature feature that is Aliens (note the pluralization). They’re both master classes in horror, and apart from differing in pace and tone, they were officially recognized by the Academy for their technical achievements. They both received an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, while Aliens tipped the scale with a win for Sound Editing.
15. Sleepy Hollow
Even though Tim Burton is one of the more hit-or-miss filmmakers in modern cinema, his visual appetite has always been consistent (if not spoiled at times by the abandonment of practical effects, but that’s a topic for another time). When it comes to eye candy, Burton is king. Between films like Beetlejuice and Big Fish, his trademark style has never faltered.
However, it was with Sleepy Hollow that he introduced some gold into his typically grim palette — and even though other Burton films have earned Oscar wins in the past, Sleepy Hollow is considerably the most horror-centric within his filmography (Beetlejuice is first and foremost a comedy, Sweeney Todd a musical). So, even though Burton doesn’t always come out as strong as most fans would like him to, he did a hell of a job bringing Washington Irving’s story to life. Sleepy Hollow received an Oscar for Best Art Direction.