The Oscars of Horror: How ‘Get Out’ and Horror is Changing The Academy Awards

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2017 was the biggest year for horror

Movies like ITGet OutSplit, Happy Death Day, drew in humongous numbers in the box office as well as telling truly compelling and entertaining stories. Tonight marks the 90th Academy Awards ceremony with Get Out nominated for four categories. If won, the movie would join the ranks of classics that took home the gold like Misery, AlienThe Fly and Rosemary’s Baby, just to name a few.

When looking at the gross for 2017, horror movies made over a whopping 943 million. This number was calculated with data found on Box Office Mojo. Dominated by clowns, racists and killer dolls, 2017 has become the biggest grossing year in horror movie history. IT alone has made more than $327 million in sales. Even in the climate we are currently in, people are still drawn to these grim worlds in order to escape from their real ones. It proves that nothing truly compares to a good scare. Other years that struck gold with horror were 1987 with $293.6 million, 1999 with $574.6 million, and 2000 with $617.7 million in gross income according to The New York Times. However, Inflation was not factored into these statistics.

Warner Bros.

Horror hasn’t always been seen in a positive light, especially when it comes to the Oscars. In fact, in the past 89 years, fewer than 20 horror movies have won awards at the Academy Awards with most nominated in categories such as sound editing, lighting and makeup. The number of horror flicks nominated for Best Picture prior to Get Out can be counted on one hand: JawsThe ExorcistSilence of the LambThe Sixth Sense, and Black Swan.

This time around, The Academy has chosen to go against typical conservative choices and opted for more risqué nominations like Get Out. Get Out was not only a horror movie but it was also a reflection of our own society and the objectification of black men and women in America. It resonated with viewers through its compelling storyline that kept you on edge at all times. It was horror but still remained lighthearted and comical.

With four nominations under its belt, it was suspenseful to see which way the pendulum was going to swing. Though Get Out did not take home awards for other categories like film of the year, it still was a win for Peele. His emotional acceptance speech retold the story of how the script became (or almost didn’t become).

Entertainment Weekly/Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

He spoke of the fear he experienced: Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of what other’s might think of a horror movie that explores race as its core element. He thanked his mom for always teaching him to love even in the face of fear and to us, the movie watchers.

This moment marked a win for diversity in film, a win for any person who dreams of making a movie, and a win for the horror genre that has been brushed to the side like a secondary thought. With 2018 looking like a promising year for Horror, next year’s Oscars should be a delightful fright!

Also, shout out to Guillermo Del Toro for creating such a beautifully crafted movie. The Shape of Water is visually stunning with an equally beautiful storyline and creature.