To many, the Oscars are a party to which we’ll likely never be invited. They’re for the beautiful, rich and untouchable. And we’re fine with that. We love movies, so we’ll pay ridiculous amounts to watch a movie at the cinema or pick up a Blu Ray, just to spend some time with our favourite stars and watch them laugh, cry, kick-ass, and look a hell of a lot cooler than we’ll ever be.

For genre fans, things are slightly different.

Genre movies are a little more available, if you get my meaning. They’re happier to kick back with a beer, and often their stars will shake our hands at festivals, have their photo taken with us, sign our crappy VHS copies and posters. Some will even answer our inane questions on social media.

These movies are made by people like us, for people like us. They’re not award-bating and catering for a certain high-brow demographic. They don’t care who watches them, they just hope we have good time. They never get invited to lavish parties, and they certainly don’t win gaudy gold awards in the shape of a completely bald man called Oscar.

But once in while, one may happen to find the Emergency Exit door open and sneak in. Once the curtain is drawn back, they’re welcomed with open arms like an old friend: “If you’re in the room with us, you must have done something to deserve to be here. Welcome to the inner sanctum…” And we raise a glass to our genre-movie pal and toast his/her success.


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And so it was this year that not one, but two movies that could easily be defined as ‘horror’, made it in to the-party-to-end-all-parties. Jordan Peele’s social-thriller (it’s a horror movie!), Get Out, and Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to Universal Classic monsters, The Shape of Water, will both represent the genre fiends (of which I am a fully paid up and proud member!)

Between them, the two have bagged 17 Oscar nominations. That’s 17 nominations for two genre movies. 17 nominations for two HORROR movies! Among horror fans, this news is as welcome as it is unprecedented. At last, horror movies are being viewed as having merit. They can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their contemporaries and even stand out from them if they managed to take home a hallowed Oscar.

Then something happened. Something strange and disturbing.

You see, voting has commenced on the Oscars and we find out very soon who has collected what. Or who hasn’t, as the case may be. However, if you’re keeping your fingers crossed for Get Out to win Best Picture, I’d probably stop that immediately and go and do something else. Because, apparently, certain older Academy members don’t feel it’s necessary to watch every film in the Best Picture category, with Get Out getting the shortest of short shrifts.

A recent Vulture article about the voting process originally broke the news, via this quote from an Academy member:


HOT AT THE SHOP


I had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film,’” said one new voter. “And I’m like, ‘That’s bullshit. Watch it.’ Honestly, a few of them had not even seen it and they were saying it, so dispelling that kind of thing has been super important.

So, what does this mean for the validity of the voting process? If members are refusing to even entertain watching movies that don’t conform to certain personal and arbitrary standards, then the future of genre movies at the most prestigious film award ceremony in the world is, at least for the time being, as a token guest; a plus one. They may have a complimentary drink in reception, but must not eat from the buffet.

Of course, we wish all the movies nominated the best of luck. But one can’t help feeling that the Oscars are forever marred by the news. Nominations are cool: they are the recognition of a job very well done. And maybe that’s enough. But wouldn’t it have been fantastic to see Jordan Peele collecting that Best Picture award? There’s still a chance, of course. A number of new Academy members have been keen to champion Get Out:

When we asked the recent Academy members to point to the best example of their group’s influence this year, almost all of them mentioned the success of Jordan Peele’s comedy-horror hit Get Out, which earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. “I think Get Out is the only masterpiece in the running this year, which is why it dominates my ballot,” said one voter in his 30s. “It feels really good that, in my opinion, the movie of the year in back-to-back years has been made by a black filmmaker showing a view of black life in America that we’ve rarely been allowed to see in mainstream culture, and I really hope this year’s voting reflects that again.

And lets not discount The Shape of Water (assuming it’s actually been seen), which is up for 13 Oscars alone – so there’s a real chance that horror may come home clutching a number off gold statuettes.

But, if not, hopefully they’ll still sign my posters.

 

oscars horror nominations nightmare on film street