What is it that's totally unique to The Silence of the Lambs? Yes, it gave us the world's most charming cannibal and taught us intriguing things about fava beans, but there's one thing that The Silence of the Lambs did that no other horror movie has done before or since. At this juncture, you may demand, as Hannibal Lecter once did:
"Enthrall me with your acumen."
Well, The Silence of the Lambs is the only horror movie ever to have won Best Picture at the Oscars. In 89 years of the Academy Awards, only ONE.
In fact, The Silence of the Lambs won the entire 'Big Five' Academy Awards, one of only three movies of any genre to do so: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actress (Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally).
When you consider how masterfully constructed and eminently quotable this movie is, it only seems fair that Silence was richly rewarded.
Still, it seems a shame for the other horror greats that missed out. Check out some horror masterpieces that missed out on Best Picture and ask yourself: is the Academy biased against horror movies?
'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)
- Oscar Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay
- Oscar Wins: Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Gordon)
'The Exorcist' (1973)
- Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Miller), Best Supporting Actress (Linda Blair), Best Director (William Friedkin), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design
- Oscar Wins: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing
- Oscar Wins: Best Actress (Kathy Bates)
Oscar Nominations: No other nominations
'The Sixth Sense' (1999)
- Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Supporting Actor (Haley Joel Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette), Best Editing
- Oscar Wins: None
You know it's thriller, thriller night...
There are plenty of thriller movies which got Oscar nods, with Best Picture Nominations for Fatal Attraction (1987), Jaws (1975), Black Swan (2010), Fargo (1996), and Deliverance (1972); and a Best Picture Win for No Country For Old Men (2007). Perhaps it's the tempering of pure horror with a more palatable 'thriller' vibe that makes the Academy more amenable to thriller movies?
Shake up the Makeup
One area in which horror has been acknowledged at the Oscars is in the makeup department, with The Fly (1986), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Wolfman (2010) and Coppola's Dracula (1992) winning Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Will another horror movie ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture? Despite the gore of The Revenant and the psychological torture of Room, there were no horror movies nominated for that particular accolade in the 88th Oscars ceremony on February 28, 2016. None of the Best Picture nominees for the 89th awards even come close to horror thematically. As Hannibal Lecter said:
"All good things to those who wait."