The Academy used to respect horror films, to a degree.
In 1931, they at least let Fredric March’s Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde turn tie with Wallace Beery’s The Champ for Best Actor.
These days, Daniel Day Lewis’ Jason Vorhees could bear down on Oscar holding a bloody machete and a bunch of flowers and the golden bugger wouldn’t so much as glance in his general direction.
But what if things were different? What if the Academy had always held horror flicks to its sentimental old heart? We reckon past winners would suddenly look a lot like this.
Should’ve Won: Best Director – John Carpenter
Who Actually Won That Year: Michael Cimino for The Deer Hunter
Why Carpenter Deserved It More: The Deer Hunter is a film full of performance powerhouses. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, all at the summit of their skills. A headless giraffe could point a camera at that trio and get a decent film from the footage.
John Carpenter, on the other hand, managed to take a cast of unknowns – including one wearing a William Shatner mask and create one of the most influential films of all time.
We’d wager you’ve seen Halloween more times than you can count, whereas you can probably add the amount of Deer Hunter viewings you’ve had on the two fingers we’d like to give the Academy for ignoring JC's masterpiece.
What Carpenter Should Have Done: Included a scene where Myers takes off his mask and gives a lengthy speech about his tour of duty in ‘ Nam.
Either that or included a scene where Myers makes a couple of his victims flip a coin to decide who gets a knife to the forehead first.
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Should’ve Won: Best Actress – Marilyn Burns
Who Actually Won That Year: Ellen Burstyn for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Why Burns Deserved It More: We’re not going to begrudge Burstyn for bagging her only golden baldie, but Burns’ turn in Texas transcends performance.
Ellen was excellent in Alice, true. But she still should have been politely applauding as Marilyn took to the stage to collect her well-deserved trinket for turning Massacre from a horror film into a documentary about intense searing pain.
It’s funny, Oscar normally likes raw performances. Not on this occasion. Bastards.
What Burns Should Have Done To Win: Put on a bit of make-up, a nice dress and maybe not screamed quite so much.
Should’ve Won: Best Song – Goblin for their Susperia Theme
Who Actually Won That Year: Paul Williams for ‘A Star Is Born’
Why Goblin Deserved It More: Forget the fact The Bee Gees were completely ignored by the Academy in the year of Saturday Night Fever, we’re more concerned with weirdo prog-rockers Goblin and their incredible Susperia score.
Have a listen to the 6-minute epic below, then tell us it didn’t deserve the Best Original Song, The Best Original Score and The Best Original Manic Whispering Award in ’77.
Especially when it breaks down about halfway through, and they start hissing ‘witch!’ like the voices we hear in our heads when we’re going to sleep at night.
What Goblin Should Have Done: Convinced Barbara Streisand to sing the hissing bits.
Evil Dead II (1987)
Should’ve Won: Best Film Editing
Who Actually Won That Year: The Last Emperor
Why Evil Dead II Deserved It More: Where do we begin? The Last Emperor was possibly the slowest film we saw in 1987. We’re not sure if there even were any edits. Also, it had a budget of around $25 million.
Evil Dead II, on the other hand, was made for about $25 and appears to be a near-constant stream of fancy camera moves and magical editing tricks.
It’s one of the most brilliantly paced horror flicks we’ve ever seen, and that’s partly because of the sublime reel-chops.
What Evil Dead II Should Have Done: Saved up a bit of money. Slowed things down. Ditched the insanely cool camera-creature sequence, because, admittedly, there is a bit of wobble during that bit.
The Thing (1982)
Should’ve Won: Best Actor – Kurt Russell
Who Actually Won That Year: Ben Kingsley – Gandhi
Why Kurt Russell Deserved It More: Kingsley may have put in a genuinely moving performance as Ghandi, but there’s no getting away from it, Ghandi is a movie that contains black-face, with no hint of irony. We hope Ben’s watching Tropic Thunder now, and regretting his actions.
Russell, on the other hand, simply grew a big beard for his role as ‘baffled bloke who has to survive an invading hoard of body-popping body-horror beasties’.
It’s possibly the gruffest performance ever recorded to film. We should have seen an ironically gleeful clean-shaven Kurt climb up onto the Oscar stage to tearfully thank John Carpenter for giving his character a Vietnam backstory.
What Kurt Should Have Done: Not allowed Carpenter to cut the Vietnam chopper pilot backstory they actually really gave to MacReady.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Should’ve Won: Best Original Script
Who Actually Won That Year: The Producers
Okay, so Mel Brooks’ Producers script is genuinely one of the finest scripts of all time.
But did it manage to deliver incisive, rich, complex social commentary via a script featuring groans and murmurs as the sole method of expression for around 90% of the characters? No, no it did not.
What Romero Should have Done: Added more Nazi jokes.
The Exorcist (1973)
Should’ve Won: Best Supporting Actress - Linda Blair
What Actually Won That Year: Tatum O’Neal for Paper Moon
Why Blair Deserved It More: This one of the rare occasions that Oscar recognised that shockers can be worthy of praise too, handing two Oscars and eight more nominations out to The Exorcist. One of those nominations went to little Linda Blair, but she didn’t get to take a prize home. Spoilsports.
Blair’s is an intense, ground-breaking performance that haunts anyone that’s seen it, forever. O’Neal, however, was old, and due an Oscar. Bloody Academy.
What Blair Should’ve Done: You know, we have absolutely no idea.