Horror for the Discerning Fan

Horror Movies at the Academy Awards – A Complete List


*Interested in what other awards shows have honored horror? Check out my Golden Globes post here.*

I’m a huge film buff (I love movies in general, not just horror movies) and I enjoy watching the Academy Awards every year. I strive to see all the Best pictures, even if I don’t agree with the choices. Despite my love and respect for the Academy Awards, I am disappointed that many excellent films are completely overlooked by the Academy. Especially horror films.

I shouldn’t be surprised. The Academy has a lot of issues. The Academy is a notoriously conservative body, reluctant to reward risks or give credit to inventive and brave filmmaking. Lately, it seems like the more popular a film is, the worst its chances are for receiving any kind of recognition from the Academy, though there are notable exceptions. Why does the Academy pick certain films over others? I have no idea.

And while horror is criminally underrated and underappreciated as a genre, while turning out well-made and culturally resonate films, there have been several films that the Academy has lauded for achievements in directing, acting, cinematography, and other facets of filmmaking.

Let’s hope that as more and more high-quality, compelling horror movies are made, the more recognition is paid to this underrated genre.

Consequently, in honor of the 89th Academy Awards, I decided to compile a list of all the films that have been nominated and have won Oscars. The list is longer than I thought it would be, but it’s still nowhere near where it should be. I can only hope that more and more excellent horror films come out with enough studio support to be serious Oscar contenders.

academy awards

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) (1932)

  • Synopsis: Testing his theory that in every man dwells a good and an evil force, the reserved Dr. Jekyll (Fredric March) develops a formula that separates the two, turning him into a violent ruffian named Mr. Hyde. Thinking he has found the answer to one of life’s grandest mysteries, Dr. Jekyll soon realizes he is becoming addicted to his darker self as he unleashes his violent side on earthy dance hall girl Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) and fights Hyde to regain control of his body.
  • Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominee – Fredric March, Best Cinematography Nominee, Best Adapted Screenplay Nominee
  • Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role – Fredric March

academy awards

Rebecca (1940)

  • Synopsis: Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold husband, Max De Winter (Laurence Olivier). She must also deal with the jealous, obsessed Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the housekeeper, who will not accept her as the mistress of the house.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Won, Best Cinematography Won, Best Director – Alfred Hitchcock, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor – Laurence Olivier, Best Actress – Joan Fontaine, Best Supporting Actress – Judith Anderson, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects
  • Won 2 Academy Awards: Best Picture, and Best Cinematography

 academy awards

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941) (1941)

  • Synopsis: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1941 horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner.
  • Nominated: Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Won: none


academy awards

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) (1945)

  • Synopsis: A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Angela Lansbury (!), Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Won: Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

academy awards

The Bad Seed (1956)

  • Synopsis: Air Force Colonel Kenneth Penmark (William Hopper) and his wife, Christine (Nancy Kelly), dote on their pig-tailed daughter, Rhoda (Patty McCormack) — as does their lonely landlady, Monica Breedlove (Evelyn Varden). But self-centered Rhoda has a secret tendency for selfishness and loves to accumulate gifts, whether given or stolen, in her room. Christine keeps her knowledge of her daughter’s darker side to herself, but when a schoolmate of Rhoda’s dies mysteriously, her self-deception unravels.
  • Nominated: Best Actress – Nancy Kelly, Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Eileen Heckart, Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Patty McCormack, Best Cinematography (Black-and-White)
  • Won: none

academy awards

Psycho (1960)

  • Synopsis: A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
  • Nominated: Best Director – Alfred Hitchcock, Best Supporting Actress – Janet Leigh, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Won: none

academy awards

Kwaidan (1965)

  • Synopsis: Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning “ghost story,” this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai (Rentarô Mikuni) marries for money with tragic results. A man stranded in a blizzard is saved by Yuki the Snow Maiden (Keiko Kishi), but his rescue comes at a cost. Blind musician Hoichi (Katsuo Nakamura) is forced to perform for an audience of ghosts. An author (Osamu Takizawa) relates the story of a samurai who sees another warrior’s reflection in his teacup.
  • Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film
  • Won: n/a

academy awards

Wait Until Dark (1967)

  • Synopsis: A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role – Audrey Hepburn
  • Won: none

academy awards

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

  • Synopsis: This brilliant adaptation of Ira Levin’s best-selling novel is the story of a loving young New York City couple who are expecting their first child. Like most first-time mothers, Rosemary experiences confusion and fear. Her husband, an ambitious but unsuccessful actor, makes a pact with the devil that promises to send his career skyward.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Ruth Gordon, Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Won: Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Ruth Gordon

academy awards

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

*note* I know some people don’t think this is a horror movie, but I disagree. A Clockwork Orange was designed to produce horror and disgust in its audience, so it counts. Deal with it.

  • Synopsis: Based on Anthony Burgess’s disturbing novel about England in the totalitarian future, Malcolm McDowell portrays Alex, a Beethoven-loving, head-bashing punk who leads his gang of droogs on ultra-violent assaults–until he is captured by authorities and subjected to nasty behavior-modification therapy.
  • Nominated: Best Director – Stanley Kubrick, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay – Stanley Kubrick
  • Won: none

academy awards

The Exorcist (1973)

  • Synopsis: When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.
  • Nominated: Best Picture – William Peter Blatty, Best Actress – Ellen Burstyn, Best Supporting Actor – Jason Miller, Best Supporting Actress – Linda Blair, Best Director – William Friedkin, Writing Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing
  • Won 2 Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing

academy awards

Jaws (1975)

  • Synopsis: A giant great white shark arrives on the shores of a New England beach resort and wreaks havoc with bloody attacks on swimmers until a part-time sheriff teams up with a marine biologist and an old seafarer to hunt the monster down.
  • Nominated: for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Sound
  • Won 3 Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Sound

academy awards

Carrie (1976)

  • Synopsis: Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role –Sissy Spacek, Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Piper Laurie
  • Won: none

academy awards

The Omen (1976)

  • Synopsis: Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil’s own son?
  • Nominated: Best Original Score, Best Original Song for “Ave Satani”
  • Won: Best Original Score

How did “Ave Satani” lose?!?! And to “Evergreen”, from freaking A Star is Born? A song that has such profound lyrics as “Love soft as an easy chair/Love fresh as the morning air”? The fuck? What in the actual fuck? I almost clawed my face off.  It should have been a fight between “Ave Satani” and “Gonna Fly Now” which is the goddamned ROCKY THEME SONG! Get the hell out of here, Academy voters.


academy awards

Alien (1979)

  • Synopsis: A ship sent to investigate an SOS distress call encounters an alien that begins to kill the crew members one by one.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects
  • Won: Best Visual Effects (Who else would be able to compete?)

 academy awards

The Amityville Horror (1979)

  • Synopsis: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.
  • Nominated: Best Original Score
  • Won: none.

academy awards 

Altered States – 1980

  • Synopsis: In this 1980 sci-fi horror film, William Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, a scientist obsessed with discovering mankind’s true role in the universe. To this end, he submits himself to a series of mind-expanding experiments. By enclosing himself in a sensory-deprivation chamber and taking hallucinogenic drugs, Jessup hopes to explore different levels of human consciousness but instead devolves into an apelike monster.
  • Nominated: Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing
  • Won: None

academy awards

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

  • Synopsis: David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup and Hairstyling Winner
  • Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling Winner

In case you didn’t know, this was the very first award for Best Makeup.

academy awards

Poltergeist (1982)

  • Synopsis: A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts.
  • Nominated: Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Academy Award for Best Original Score
  • Won: None

academy awards

Aliens (1986)

  • Synopsis: 57 years after the original attack, Ripley and a crew of marines return to the planet to kill the remaining aliens that have slaughtered the colonists on the planet.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role – Sigourney Weaver, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Music, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration.
  • Won 2 Academy Awards: Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects

academy awards

The Fly (1986)

  • Synopsis: When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect. Initially, Brundle appears to have undergone a successful teleportation, but the fly’s cells begin to take over his body. As he becomes increasingly fly-like, Brundle’s girlfriend (Geena Davis) is horrified as the person she once loved deteriorates into a monster.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

academy awards

Misery (1990)

  • Synopsis: After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role – Kathy Bates
  • Won: Best Actress in a Leading Role – Kathy Bates

academy awards

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

  • Synopsis: A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help in catching another serial killer who skins his victims.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Best Director – Jonathan Demme, Best Actor – Anthony Hopkins, Best Actress – Jodie Foster, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing
  • Won 5 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director – Jonathan Demme, Best Actor – Anthony Hopkins, Best Actress – Jodie Foster, Best Adapted Screenplay

The five awards listed above are what’s known as The Big Five. And The Silence of the Lambs is only the third film in history to win The Big Five.

academy awards

The Addams Family (1991)

  • Synopsis: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.
  • Nominated: Best Costume Nominee
  • Won: none

academy awards

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

  • Synopsis: The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor’s fiancée and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
  • Nominated: Best Costume Design – Eiko Ishioka (an actual legend, btw), Best Sound Editing, Best Makeup, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
  • Won 3 Academy Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Makeup

academy awards

Addams Family Values (1993)

  • Synopsis: A comical Gothic horror-movie-type family tries to rescue their beloved uncle from his gold-digging new love.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction
  • Won: none

 academy awards

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

  • Synopsis: When the brilliant but unorthodox scientist Victor Frankenstein rejects the artificial man that he has created, the Creature escapes and later swears revenge.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Won: none

academy awards

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

  • Synopsis: Louis is lured by the supremely evil and charismatic vampire Lestat into the immortality of the damned, then tormented by an unalterable fact of vampire life: to survive, he must kill. One lifetime alone offers plenty of opportunities for the savage revelries of the night. Imagine what an eternity can bring.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Original Score
  • Won: none

academy awards

The Sixth Sense (1999)

  • Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Best Director – M. Night Shyamalan, Best Supporting Actor – Haley Joel Osment, Best Supporting Actress – Toni Collette, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay
  • Won: none

academy awards

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

  • Synopsis: Set in 1799, “Sleepy Hollow” is based on Washington Irving’s classic tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Faithful to the dreamy custom-bound world that Irving paints in his story, the film mixes horror, fantasy and romance and features an extraordinary cast of characters that dabble in the supernatural.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design
  • Won: Best Art Direction

academy awards

The Cell (2000)

  • Synopsis: An FBI agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup
  • Won: none

academy awards

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

  • Synopsis: The filming of Nosferatu (1922) is hampered by the fact that its star Max Schreck is taking the role of a vampire far more seriously than seems humanly possible.
  • Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Willem Dafoe, Best Makeup
  • Won: none

academy awards

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

  • Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother’s new husband (Sergi López), a sadistic army officer who is trying to quell a guerrilla uprising. While exploring an ancient maze, Ofelia encounters the faun Pan, who tells her that she is a legendary lost princess and must complete three dangerous tasks in order to claim immortality.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film
  • Won 2 Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup

academy awards

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

  • Synopsis: Evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) lusts for the beautiful wife of a London barber (Johnny Depp) and transports him to Australia for a crime he did not commit. Returning after 15 years and calling himself Sweeney Todd, the now-mad man vows revenge, applying his razor to unlucky customers and shuttling the bodies down to Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who uses them in her meat-pie shop. Though many fall to his blade, he will not be satisfied until he slits Turpin’s throat.
  • Nominated: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Johnny Depp, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction
  • Won: Best Art Direction

academy awards

The Wolfman (2010)

  • Synopsis: A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him cannot possibly exist.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

academy awards

Black Swan (2010)

  • Synopsis: A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Best Actress – Natalie Portman, Best Director – Darren Aronofsky, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing
  • Won: Best Actress – Natalie Portman

academy awards

The Shape of Water (2017)

  • Synopsis: Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Best Actress – Sally Hawkins, Best Supporting Actor – Richard Jenkins, Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer, Best Director – Guillermo del Toro, Best Original Screenplay -Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design (Hell yes!), Best Original Score, Best Costume Design
  • WIN: Best Picture, Best Director – Guillermo del Toro, Best Production Design, Best Original Score

academy awards

Get Out (2017)

  • Synopsis: Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.
  • Nominated: Best Picture, Best Actor – Daniel Kaluuya, Best Director – Jordan Peele, Best Original Screenplay – Jordan Peele
  • WIN: Best Original Screenplay – Jordan Peele
academy awards

A Quiet Place (2018)

  • Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.
  • Nominated: Best Sound Editing

Border (Gräns) (2018)

  • Synopsis: A customs officer who can smell fear develops an unusual attraction to a strange traveler while aiding a police investigation which will call into question her entire existence.
  • Nominated: Best Makeup and Hairstyling



  1. John Zanardelli

    Hey, um, love the list, but The Exorcist didn’t win Supporting Actor & Production Design.

    It won Adapted Screenplay and Sound Mixing.

    • mm

      You’re right! Thanks for pointing that out to me! I’ll update it now.

  2. Henrik Eriksen

    “Shanks” (1974) – one of the weirdest movies ever nominated for an Oscar in my opinion.

    • mm

      Oh my god, I did not know about this movie! Thank you for letting me know about it! I’ll have to update my post!

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