The Oscars’ rocky relationship with horror

‘Nope!’ These movies didn’t get any Oscar nominations


Courtesy of IMDb

By Sydney Warren, Collegian Correspondent

On Jan. 24, the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were released, and to no one’s surprise, there were major snubs. Like every year, critics and fans alike are upset with the nominations for each category. Some of the most praised films of 2022 were left off the ballot, especially horror films. From Mia Goth’s performance in “Pearl” to director Jordan Peele’s acclaimed “Nope,” one can’t help but wonder why the Oscars tend to often overlook this genre.

To start, Jordan Peele’s third film, “Nope,” was left off the ballot in more ways than one. Fans are wondering why the summer blockbuster wasn’t nominated for Best Sound Design and Best Original Screenplay. The film focuses on siblings O.J. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Em (Keke Palmer) who work on their late father’s horse ranch. When they discover a UFO that hovers around their ranch, they try everything to capture what this object is, which they later name “Jean Jacket.”

The sound design in “Nope” is one of the most critical aspects of the film. The use of sound is really what brings the horror spectacle to life. The sound design plays with the viewer, creating awe and suspense at the same time. The sound design used attributes a mysterious beauty to the slowly approaching UFO, but soon after, intensifying sound instills fear to the audience. Without this use of sound, the film wouldn’t be as jarring and scary as it was.

The lack of nomination for Best Original Screenplay is surprising as well. “Nope” is a modern-day science-fiction horror film that has a lot to say about the obsession with capturing a everything on camera. It is seen often in today’s society that everyone is addicted to capturing the moment, some might even call it “capture culture”.

Every character in this film is focusing on capturing footage of the alien being, making many addicted to the spectacle. Jordan Peele is known to use film as a medium to provide commentary on relevant social issues. This is also seen with his debut project, “Get Out,” which was nominated four times, as well as winning the Best Original Screenplay category.

The second major snub of this awards season is the lack of a Best Actress nomination for Mia Goth in Ti West’s “X” prequel, “Pearl.” The cult following of West’s latest picture was shocked that Mia Goth did not receive a nomination. The film revolves around Pearl, a farm girl living through the Spanish Influenza pandemic who’s one main ambition in life is to become a star. She does whatever it takes to reach this status and won’t let anyone get in the way of her dream.

While it follows the titular villain from the X franchise, the look of the movie is quite different. The use and appearance of a vibrant, technicolor filter, adds a deeper, scarier aspect to the film. Throughout the film, Goth portrays a woman who is unhinged and desperate, that ultimately leaves the viewer on end. Her captivating performance of feminine rage on screen is a concept audiences are seeing more of today. This is mainly seen at the end of the film. Mostly in Pearl’s iconic monologue, as she confesses her guilt as black mascara rolls down her cheeks. Through this, the audience can slightly begin to sympathize with her, even if they don’t want to. This whole monologue heightens tension as it leads up to the gruesome ending.

The Oscars tend to overlook the genre that helped build up what society knows today as film and Hollywood. The movies like Dracula and Frankenstein helped bring Hollywood to life and are the classic monsters everyone loves. Horror provide commentary on issues that people are facing throughout their lives.

The horror genre also pushes boundaries, serving as a way to deal with dark topics, while also working through a viewer’s fear or feelings. While there have been nominations and winners for the genre, it would still be nice to see such an important genre represented a little more. The 95th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12 at 11 p.m. on ABC.

Sydney Warren can be reached at [email protected]