Horror a notoriously been getting ignored by the Oscar Academy for years now with the only films in the genre to get a Best Picture Nomination being The Silence of the Lambs (which is more of a crime thriller), The Exorcist, Jaws, The Sixth Sense, Black Swan and Get Out. We have seen a couple in acting too, but in recent years, the call for more horror performances to get recognised as been increasing.
Today I am going to look at the films of 2019 in the horror genre and see which ones could have been put on at least the nominations list, this won’t just be for the major categories, we will be looking at some of the technical awards too, we will also not be saying these films are always the best, remember, when it comes to the technical awards, even some of the worst films have awards to their names.
Lupita Nyong’o – Us Lupita gives us one of the most haunting dual performances in horror history, with the Adelaide wife and mother, showing signs of paranoia, while also being loving, until Red appears, with a broken voice telling us the disturbing story of her life and why she has come for Adelaide. The two contrasting characters are performed with ease, both being wonderful to watch, while also giving us a chance to re-watch the film to understand character motivations. This is a performance that will stick with you even if you are not the biggest fan of the film.
Florence Pugh – Midsommar Florence Pugh did end up getting an Oscar nomination for her work in Little Women, and to be fair she has had an incredible acting year, with Fighting With My Family completing her hat trick. In Midsommar she plays Dani, a young lady who has seen her family die suddenly, with her about to lose her boyfriend, she is stuck in a relationship neither are overly happy with and decide to spend time at a Swedish village for the solstice, here she gets to battle her grief, which Pugh effortlessly gives us a stunning performance which is filled with all the pain she is feeling.
Rebecca Ferguson – Doctor Sleep Rebecca Ferguson does play the villain in the much anticipated sequel to both the novel and the film, Rose the Hat is a menacing villain that shows no remorse for her actions, controls the people in her cult and gives us some of the most horrific moments in the horror genre this year. Rebecca gives us the performance that is both calm, seductive at times and filled with terror herself at times, one of the supporting roles that could easily have picked up a nomination.
When it comes to directors, it is such a competitive category this year, it would be hard to give an honest couple of names for this outside the ones we will discuss more, Jordan Peele, Mike Flanagan or Ari Aster, I don’t feel any of them have been snubbed as they would have struggled against four of the five on the list any year. This would also be reflected in Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay, it would be hard to knock anybody off either list for a horror film.
Best Cinematography is the only category that gave horror a look in, with The Lighthouse for Jarin Blaschke’s work. Rightfully deserved too, we might sound like a broken record here, only we have to put Midsommar up for this category too, the film has some of the best shots you will see in film this year and cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski could easily have been give the nod here.
Best Film Editing was a category that gave us some surprises anyway, with Joker, Jojo Rabbit and The Irishman being three that could easily be replaced, we are looking at horror though, the leading choice here would be.
Mike Flanagan – Doctor Sleep When it comes to this movie, we had a lot to get through, the huge time between the two films, the battle between King’s vision and Kubrick’s vision, Flanagan does bring us a wonderful film. The editing in this film is brilliant, because we do the seemingly effortless transitions between characters and locations, the old and the new, everything looks perfectly natural, which even gives us moments of fear, because we know certain evils that are coming our way.
Production Design, this is a category that I always look at as one that brings us into the film, horror has always been able to bring us one of the best for using location to increase the horror within the film, usually in a tighter scale.
Craig Lathrop – The Lighthouse Watching The Lighthouse, we find ourselves joining the two men on a remote island which sees them slowly descend into madness, the two main roomed locations so us how contained the horror is, while we wait to see the mystery around the light room, while the island is also haunting with endless questions going on within it.
Henrick Svensson – Midsommar Midsommar is one film that creates the festival for the events to take place in, the house designs are beautiful, making us feel even more uncomfortable in the film too, with secrets in the walls with the designs on them, this is one production design, which is one you could study for days, weeks or even months to get the clues within them.
Best Achievement in Costume Design, how the characters look is important, this is a category that has seen people talking because of certain films that aren’t including over Joker which is included, we could have seen many different films this year, with the clear pick for this one being,
Andrea Flesch – Midsommar Midsommar does show us how the cult looks with their traditional outfits, showing their different statuses within the group, showing just how out of place newcomers could be too. The highlight of the costume design comes in the final third of the film with the beautiful floral dress that Dani must wear for the ceremony and let’s not forget about that bear costume.
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling is a category that usually gets the biggest range of films, a lot of this goes into how you read the movies you are watching, for the sake of this article, I am looking just at makeup being used to create something in a horror film, with An American Werewolf in London winning this award in the past.
Natasa Krstic, Adrien Morot, Tijana Saletovic, Shane Shisheboran, Martina Sobic-Dodocic and Vague Vartanian – Crawl Crawl might well be a creature feature that doesn’t have the most realistic looking real alligators, but when it comes the injuries both Haley and Dave receive, we see some of the most brutal makeup effects of the year, from just bites, to full body parts being ripped off.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark First off, there are way too many names to list on this one, I don’t want to miss anybody off the list. This is a horror that uses practical effects to create each different creature we meet, each one has a different aspect to make them terrifying and this only adds to the horror in the film.
These are just a few suggestions that could have been up for Oscars this year, I have skipped over Visual Effects because I don’t feel any horror brings enough on that front, when it comes to the Sound Editing and Mixing, I also don’t feel there is enough for any film to be put ahead of any of the nominations.
Which horror films do you think could have been nominated for Oscars in which categories?
Writer: Nate Gold, Nunzio Randazzo, Jack Henry Robbins (Screenplay)
Starring: Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Mark Proksch, Courtney Pauroso, Charlyne Yi, John Gemberling, Mason McNulty
Plot: This bizarre retro comedy, shot entirely on VHS and Beta, follows 12-year-old Ralph as he accidentally records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape.
Runtime: 1 Hour 12 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Strange & Unique
Story: VHYes starts in 1987 when young boy Ralph (McNulty) gets a camcorder for Christmas, which he learns will record late night television, which he does, diving into the weird and whacky world of late night television and filling everyday life, trying to capture some of the strangest moments in life.
AS the nights alone continues Ralph continues to watch more of the late night shows, he learns about new ideas of what to film, which soon blurs the lines of reality.
Thoughts on VHYes
Final Thoughts – This is a story that is very strange to watch, mostly because there is a connection between everything that is going on, it might well be a series of what looks like random clips, from shopping network, antique show and even badly acted pornos. A lot of the clips we see do have political messages about the future or the world we live in now, which is nice to see. This story is so difficult to truly judge, because it is the filmmaking that is making a bigger impact, with the unique plan put in place to show us a message about blending reality with. This film should be praised for the filmmaking, it is original in way, though it could be a way of telling a story that leave people feeling like they missed something.
Overall: Unique Filmmaking.
This is under N because of Natalie Portman performance in the film.
Writer: Brad Corbet, Mona Fastvold (Screenplay)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Stacy Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Raffey Cassidy, Christopher Abbott
Plot: An unusual set of circumstances brings unexpected success to a pop star.
Tagline – A Twenty-First Century Portrait
Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Plenty of Flash, No Substance
Story: Vox Lux starts in 2000 when high school student Celeste (Cassidy) is one of the many victims of a shooting in the school, left with spinal injuries, she must learn to walk and function again, turning to music with her sister Eleanor (Martin) to find peace in her life over the next days, weeks and months where she becomes an international music sensation, bringing the country together.
Jumping forward to 2017 another terrorist attack using the masks from Celeste first video might put a shadow over her latest performance, now Celeste (Portman) must work with her Manager (Law) to give a calm statement about the incident as we learn how much she has changed over the years
Thoughts on Vox Lux
Characters – Celeste can be split into two, first the school girl that was one of the victims of school shooting, who became an international music success over night, she kept her feet on the ground and found ways to continue to spread the world of her music despite only being 14/15 during this time. The second one the 31-year-old that has been working for nearly two decades in the industry, a mother that doesn’t always make time for her kid that her sister raised and is always thinking of the next big thing in her career. Celeste’s Manager has always seen the star making power and has always found a way to make Celeste the most important person in the room. Eleanor is the older sister of Celeste, she has promised to never leave her sister’s side and supports her through her career, despite her ending up with different mindset by the second part of her career. Albertine is the daughter of Celeste who is being raised by Eleanor, wanting to avoid the spotlight her mother is stuck in and isn’t as close as she should be to her mother.
Performances – Natalie Portman gives us a wonderful performance in her role, while Jude Law is equally as strong, it is Raffey Cassidy that must be considered the best performer though, taking on two roles, first as young Celeste where we see the innocent nature and then as the daughter of the Celeste who feels neglected.
Story – The story here follows a young teenage girl that is a victim of a high school shooting that suddenly becomes an international music sensation and we see how her career goes in a strange direction after jumping forward 17 years to her homecoming tour. Deep down you can see a message that seems to be focusing on the celebrity mentality being mixed into the cowardly terrorism action, showing how they can be used to capture quick headlines in the media. Outside of this, we do seem to jump from of the innocent nature of Celeste to the popstar that has been through the drug, drink and personal problems which has changed her nature dramatically. We do see how fame can change people with this and how life can go in strange directions, the down on the story is the random narration over everything which fills in blanks for a random reason and we won’t talk about the actual music, because that is awful to listen to, but it isn’t the point of the story.
Settings – The film uses the main settings to show us just how much Celeste’s life changes, from schoolgirl to a European party trip before the big concert location.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the flashiest movies you will see, the performances are fantastic throughout, though we do focus on a couple of concert moments for too long and have a random narration which sees out of nowhere at times.
Overall: Concert Film Flashiness.