Friday, March 12, 2010

We're Gonna Have a MONTAGE!

I wasn’t going to say it. 

I was going to let it go. 

After two weeks devoted to film awards an Oscar politics, I truly expected to wake up Monday morning with a new topic on my mind. I could block out The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock blindsiding worthier, non-nominated actresses like Antichrist’s Charlotte Gainsbourg. As long as the Academy let me bask in Kathryn Bigelow’s victory--to which I could easily rewrite in my head as actually being an honor of Near Dark, sort of like how Scorcese’s The Departed trophy actually just says Goodfellas--I could move on. Hey, there was even a special montage reserved to acknowledge the fact that horror is a legitimate genre of film!

...‘bout that...

To begin: Kristen Stewart. Taylor Lautner. On switch.

Now I refuse to enter into a debate about whether vampires do indeed shimmer or Kristen Stewart’s personality exists. Twilight gets teenagers reading and theater seats filled, so anger is aimed not at those young, possibly empty heads on far too pretty bodies. No. Let’s look to the general planners of the Oscar ceremony, who somehow take not one minute to consider the fact that a pair of teen actors starring in a franchise aimed at 14 year old girls did not, in any real way, honor the horror genre.

Giving Roger Corman, the man responsible for hundreds of films and dozens of genuine filmmakers (including Academy Award winners themselves like Ron Howard) an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement? Yes, that’s nice. Know what would have been nicer? Hearing him speak.

My other favorite part followed Kristen Stewart’s premature smoker’s cough: “It’s been 37 years since horror had its place on this show.” What “place” that is remains unclear. The Exorcist, cited as the last horror film allowed to have anything to do with the Oscars, picked up trophies for Screenplay and Sound, in which, presumably, the recipients stepped on stage and had their moment on television. Much like the men and women responsible for the following wins for work in horror cinema:

Jaws*:Sound, Editing, Score
The Omen*: Score
Alien*:Visual Effects
An American Werewolf in London: Makeup
Aliens*: Visual Effects, Sound Effects Editing
Beetlejuice*: Makeup
Bram Stoker’s Dracula*: Costume Design, Sound Effects Editing, Makeup,
Sleepy Hollow*: Art Direction
Sweeney Todd:Art Direction

*Films actually referenced in the montage

So The Exorcist won Best Screenplay, which is an admitted major accomplishment not generally reserved for genre cinema, and a technical award, well-deserved and something, as you can see from the list, nine subsequent “horror” films went on to win as well. Not to mention The Sixth Sense and Jaws--both featured in the montage--were nominated for Best Picture, and a slew more genre films boasted nods in the acting categories

Oh! And did I forget something? Because the Academy did. Mostly the first film since Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to win the qui-fecta of Best Screenplay (much like The Exorcist), Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and oh yeah, Best Picture.

Don’t try to tell me Silence of the Lambs is not a horror movie, particularly if you then plan on including multiple clips of it in a five minute montage called “A Salute to Horror Films.” 

Few viewers were happier than yours truly to see the likes of Chucky, the blood-dripping (but sadly not rappin’) Leprechaun, Leatherface, and Baby Jane herself sharing the stage later graced by Oscar royalty and designer gowns. But something about the whole segment felt both pandering and patronizing. Hearing the barely legal Lautner and couldn’t-care-less Stewart talk about horror as if was the fat girl at the prom just felt insulting, made far worse by the simple lack of sense in any of the teleprompter script.

I admire the choice to throw a bone to the industry’s most under-appreciated genre. If only the nominations could ever prove that this odd affirmative action type time filler was unnecessary to give it the respect it deserved.


  1. Freedom isn't free. It costs folks like you and me. So chip in your buck o' five. Ohhhhhh yeaaaaahhhhhhh, freedom costs a buck oooooo' fivvvvvveeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

  2. Yup. So I like knowing that at least two other warriors will also be humming these songs all day.

  3. "Don’t try to tell me Silence of the Lambs is not a horror movie, particularly if you then plan on including multiple clips of it in a five minute montage called “A Salute to Horror Films.”


    The hypocrisy is maddening.

  4. Way to school the Oscars, Emily! Too bad they couldn't have asked a horror fan to have a hand in assembling their tribute but that would've required them to have some respect for the genre in the first place.

  5. Thanks Jeff. Funny how the more and more I thought about it, the more offensive that segment became. Your post definitely helped there!

    You know something I forgot to check carefully: was there any Cronenberg in the montage?

  6. Nope, none. So now there's something else to be annoyed by!