'Jaws' to 'Get Out': The Only 6 Horror Films Ever Nominated for Oscar's Best Picture

2:34 PM 3/1/2018

by Deirdre Durkan

In 1992, 'The Silence of the Lambs' became the first — and only — horror movie to win.

'Get Out'
'Get Out'
Courtesy of Universal Studios

The Oscars rarely acknowledge horror films outside of the technical categories, but Jordan Peele’s Get Out acquired an impressive four Oscar nominations while making history.

The Academy has historically not nominated horror movies for the major categories, including best picture. To wit: The Oscars famously snubbed director Steven Spielberg for his work on Jaws. At the time, Spielberg had predicted his film would sweep the awards and even hired a crew to film his reaction to the nominations.

Silence of the Lambs has remained the most victorious in its genre, with wins in the top four categories of best actor, actress, director and screenplay.

Here is an all-inclusive list of the only six horror films to receive a nomination for the night’s most prestigious award, best picture.

  • The Exorcist

    1974

    Courtesy of Photofest

    The films follows a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempts to free her from demonic possession.

    It earned a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations and until September was the highest-grossing films of all time (it was surpassed by It).

  • Jaws

    1976

    Universal Pictures/Photofest

    Steven Spielberg’s film follows a giant man-eating great white shark that attacks beachgoers on Amity Island.

    It won three of its four Academy Award nominations, for best original music score, film editing and sound mixing. It, however, did not win best picture.

  • The Silence of the Lambs

    1991

    Photofest

    Directed by Jonathan Demme, the horror-thriller film follows a young FBI cadet who must receive the help of an incarcerated cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer who skins his victims.

    It is the first (and so far only) best picture winner of its genre. It also won for best actor, actress (Jodie Foster), director and screenplay.

  • The Sixth Sense

    2000

    Photofest

    The story of 8-year-old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) seeing dead people became the highest-grossing movie of 1999 and earned six Academy Awards.

    Osment, who was 11 at the time, was nominated for best supporting actor, making him one of the youngest nominees to be recognized.

    The film, which was nominated for best picture, best director and best original screenplay, didn’t win in any of its categories. 

  • Black Swan

    2011

    Fox Searchlight Pictures

    The film follows Nina (Natalie Portman), a dancer who replaces the company’s prima ballerina for its opening production of Swan Lake. After the art director brings in a newcomer, Lily (Mila Kunis), Nina embarks on a downward spiral from her sanity.

    The psychological ballet movie directed by Aaron Aronofsky is full of lurid visions from bloody nails, breaking bones and puncture wounds. The psycho drama, which takes its cues from Swan Lake, earned Portman an Oscar for her performance.

    While it is not a traditional horror film, in terms of gore, it features high levels of paranoia and other thriller elements.

  • Get Out

    2017

    Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures

    The social horror-thriller has already made Oscar history with its four nominations. The film stars British actor Daniel Kaluuya, who plays a photographer meeting his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time.

    Horror ensues when her mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), insists on hypnotizing him to quit smoking.

    The chilling thriller is competing is up for four Oscar nominations: best picture, actor, director and screenplay.