10 Horror Films That Deserved Best Picture Noms

The Oscars are coming up, and we’re counting down ten horror movies we think got snubbed by the Academy.

Horror Movies That Deserved Best Picture Noms

Oscar Weekend is coming up, and everyone is wondering if Oppenheimer will sustain its Awards push. Or will Lily Gladstone will take the Best Actress statue from clear front-runner Emma Stone after her surprising SAG win? But there’s one thing that comes across my mind every Oscar weekend: which horror movie deserved to make the cut yet didn’t? I’ve chronicled in the past how much the Academy tends to look the other way regarding great horror performances. But what about the films themselves? After the Best Picture nomination pool was expanded to ten films, we’ve seen movies that otherwise wouldn’t, get a place amongst the year’s best. They wanted to recognize those films making a cultural impact.

And while that position has mostly been reserved for comic book movies and summer blockbusters, I think it’s well past time that we give horror its due. Because what genre is more impactful than horror? They’re the films we think of when we go to bed at night. So I’ve looked through the last few decades and compiled what I think are some of the most deserving horror films, to be skipped over by the Oscars. And sure, some may have had some performances nominated, but we’re looking at the grand prize: Best Picture. We’ll look at which films were more than deserving of the honor but were looked over for one reason or another. I tried to include a video that goes over why the film is so great, produced by our wonderful team at JoBlo Horror Originals. Let’s get started.

10. Halloween

John Carpenter’s 1978 classic has the distinction of being quite possibly the greatest slasher of all time. And I know that slashers aren’t known as the bastion of quality. But Halloween is the exception to the rule, crafting a brilliant film that has persevered for 46 years. The innovation involved with the panaglide as well as its famous “one-take” opening brings this to a technical level that we rarely see in slashers. Jamie Lee’s Laurie Strode became the prototype for final girls in horror. Without Halloween, the landscape of horror would be completely different.

9. Scream

Sometimes a film comes along and it changes film as we know it, and Wes Craven’s 1996 classic did just that. The entire horror genre was upended upon release, with meta dialogue being the new hip thing. Now, in 2024, there’s hardly a horror film that releases that doesn’t feature the same insightful dialogue. But it’s more than just the witty conversation that makes it stand out, as the script dissects horror tropes in such a way that even the wisest of horror fans will notice new things on each subsequent viewing. And it features one of the greatest opening and ending scenes in any film, ever. I will fight anyone on that.

8. American Psycho

It’s insane to me that Christian Bale wasn’t nominated for his turn as Patrick Bateman, but the film itself is just as deserving. Putting the viewer in the mind of an absolute psychopath, American Psycho examines the life of serial killer Patrick Bateman. From his meticulous routines to his seemingly in-the-moment decisions to murder homeless folks, seeing Patrick get away with murder while being so sloppy, speaks to so much more than just a man wanting to kill people. This film breaks down how high society can get away with whatever they want, and it’s the common man (or woman) who must pay the price.

7. The Brood

This may be a controversial opinion but I’d argue that The Brood is Cronenberg’s greatest work. It’s a dissection of both marriage and divorce, while also delving into the difficult subject of mental health. And it’s anchored by a phenomenal performance from Oliver Reed. This is a psychological thriller that really takes you on a journey and will have you dissecting long after it ends.

6. It Follows

It’s hard to do something original in horror in the modern era, yet David Robert Mitchell managed to do just that. It utilizes an STD monster, who will slowly walk toward its victim until it can finally murder them in a brutal and violent way. The only way to get rid of the monster is to sleep with someone else and set the monster on them. It’s a great concept, especially when combined with the fact that no one except the victim can see the monster. This brings a sense of paranoia that finds its way into every corner of the film. Add in some technically perfect camerawork and tremendous performances, including a star-making turn from Maika Monroe, it’s hard to care. Here’s hoping the sequel is able to bring the same level of quality.

5. Hereditary

I’ve already gotten into the absolute sham that the 2019 Oscars were for not including Toni Collette’s mindblowing performance in Hereditary. But that also applies to the film itself. An absolutely harrowing story of loss and destiny, this takes you on a brutally dark journey. The effect that this is able to have on people is truly remarkable, with reactions unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Most will remember where they were when they first saw that telephone pole incident; I know I do.

4. Alien

Thankfully this film did receive nominations and even won Best Visual Effects, but it deserved so much more. Ridley Scott’s haunted house story set on a spaceship, follows many tropes we’d see in slashers with characters being offed till we’re left with just our final girl: Ellen Ripley. Sigourney Weaver is able to take over a role that would be stereotypically male and give us one of the greatest sci-fi characters ever created. Then there’s the xenomorph itself, whose life cycle is one of the most well-crafted in all of sci-fi/horror.

3. The Thing

John Carpenter’s notorious flop nearly destroyed the director’s will to create, yet he managed to bring us one of the greatest horror films of all time. The creature effects are often cited as the best practical effects in any film. Yet even those weren’t nominated, instead having to settle for a Saturn Award Nomination. But it’s how Carpenter handles the paranoia and uncertainty about who and who hasn’t been assimilated by this alien creature. Its true brilliance lies in how it doesn’t spell out the answers and instead lends the entirety of the film’s runtime to be studied for clues.

2. Rosemary’s Baby

There are many baffling things when it comes to Rosemary’s Baby‘s relationship to the Oscars. It was such a monumental film and even earned Roman Polanski a nomination for Best Screenplay. Ruth Gordon even managed to win the Supporting Actress statue yet Mia Farrow’s incredible performance wasn’t even worthy of a nom. But this was the 60’s and horror was still taboo (not that it isn’t, still). So the film itself was unfairly looked past, despite its grounded view of something as fantastical as a cult bringing the devil’s child into the world.

1. The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece is widely heralded as one of the greatest horror films of all time (just don’t ask Stephen King). And it’s easy to see why with its journey down the rabbit hole of insanity, as Jack Torrance loses it more and more, and his family pays the price. To further highlight the gross negligence of the Razzies, both Kubrick and Shelley Duvall were nominated for those awards, further proving how little they actually mean. The performances of both Duvall and Jack Nicholson are so iconic that they’ve been recreated in other forms for decades. Plus, there’s a reason there are documentaries devoted to all of the minor details in The Shining. Every element can, should be, and has been dissected and studied because Kubrick was able to capture something hypnotic.

What Horror Movies do YOU think should have been nominated for Best Picture? Is there any film that was released THIS YEAR that you feel was worthy of a nomination? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

193 Articles Published

Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.