It’s the Booze Talkin’, The Academy needs to recognize more kids in horror!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Do you remember the first time you saw THE EXORCIST? It’s absolutely frightening watching a young and innocent Linda Blair fall victim to demonic possession. The actress was so impressive in the role that she was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work as Regan in the William Freidkin directed classic. However, she isn’t the only young talent to conjure up such a major nomination for their work in genre. In M. Night Shyamalan’s critically acclaimed THE SIXTH SENSE (1999), Haley Joel Osment was also awarded a nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Both are wonderful performances and deserving of all the praise given.

linda blair the exorcist horror william friedkin possession 1973

While getting an Oscar – let alone just being nominated – is very tricky in horror, it is a subject I’ve approached before. From Vera Farmiga in THE CONJURING to Essie Davis in THE BABADOOK, we’ve seen some incredible work from very impressive actors. However, some of the brightest stars taking on scary stories happen to be much younger than the more recognizable leads. Now I’m not talking about twenty-somethings that are playing teenagers stalked by a psychopath. Much like THE EXORCIST and THE SIXTH SENSE, child actors have become one of the most inspired choices in horror today. Of course we’ve always had amazingly talented kids being terrorized, but lately, the talent level is unimaginably solid.

One thing that nearly every filmmaker will say they’ve heard; don’t work with animals and children. Animals can be tricky and you have to have the right trainer. Children have limited hours and have been known to be tough to work with. However, every once in a while you’d find a Elle and Dakota Fanning, Elijah Wood, or Miko Hughes. Yet over the past few years we’ve seen something truly remarkable. If you look at a movie like THE BABADOOK, much of the terror relied on the believability of the film’s lead, and of course her son played by Noah Wiseman. Look, I know some of you found him to be a bit too much, but frankly I believed every damn scene that child was in.

the babadook jennifer kent essie davis noah wiseman 2014

Another major player in giving young actors great roles would be Mr. James Wan. THE CONJURING not only offers up the brilliance of Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, but the youngsters bring the scares to another level. The same can be said about the sequel. In fact, Madison Wolfe is so entirely effective as Janet Hodgson – a young girl tormented by the paranormal – that you must credit much of the sequels success to what she gives to the role. Even with the INSIDIOUS films, Wan and company have managed to bring these fine actors front and center to steal a few scenes from their established co-stars.

the conjuring 2 vera farmiga madison wolfe patrick wilson ed warren lorraine warren 2016

This year has been especially rewarding for audiences when it comes to featuring a young cast. Having had luck with his feature LIGHTS OUT, David F. Sandberg had a terrific performance from Gabriel Bateman as Teresa Palmer’s younger brother. And this year, with ANNABELLE: CREATION, the filmmaker’s stars are all orphans terrorized by a demonic force. However, the two performances that really stand out are Talitha Eliana Bateman – Gabriel’s sister – and Lulu Wilson. Ms. Wilson is already a major player in genre thanks to her work in this, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL and DELIVER US FROM EVIL. These two fine young actresses help raise the tension level when Annabelle comes out to play.

it stephen king bill skarsgard andy muschietti jaeden lieberher finn wolfhard sophia lillis jeremy ray taylor chosen jacobs jack dylan grazer wyatt oleff

And next up we have IT. Now frankly, there is am embargo so this is not a review. However, I have seen the film, and you may have seen me and Eric Walkuski – as well as many others – Tweeting their praise of this marvelous film. Aside from Pennywise (the excellent Bill Skarsgård), the kids help make this movie damn near perfect. In fact, watching all of those involved including Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff and Sophia Lillis, you couldn’t have hoped for a better cast. So much so that it would be nice to see some of their work considered when it comes to award season. While all the performances are great, it is Sophia Lillis who gives a profoundly deep and moving portrayal of a young girl facing a number of horrific situations. And yes, her work her is exactly what Academy voters should seek out.

stephen king it andy muschietti bill skarsgard jaeden lieberher finn wolfhard sophia lillis jeremy ray taylor chosen jacobs jack dylan grazer wyatt oleff

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but more kids from horror movies should get nominated for Oscars. While genre has always had an actor or two that proved their worth in feature films, the past few years we’ve seen some amazing young talent light up the screen. It would be worth while to seriously consider some of the performances that have inspired a nightmare or two. I know, horror rarely gets any kind of serious Academy Award buzz – even when it earns it – so it’s all the more rare that somebody under eighteen, in a supernatural thriller, is going to hear their name when announcements are made. However, if I were an Academy voter, I’d pay close attention to some of the fine work in horror movies – this is especially true for the talented youngsters in IT.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.