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Up Yours, Oscars. Love, Horror

by RJ Bayley

Preface:

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA DID YOU SEE THAT?! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I AM OVERJOYED.

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Dear Oscars,

When I saw the enormous cock up the other night over the Best Picture award the following morning on YouTube, I literally lept out of bed with joy and had a smile on my face all day long. I am still smiling.

Frankly, it’s the most interesting you’ve been in recent memory.

I can laugh heartily about it because it was clearly a blithering accident and you’re well aware that it made you look very, very stupid and I know you’re incredibly embarrassed about the whole thing.

I take such hearty delight in this because, for once, I know that you know you’ve done wrong.

It’s a rare opportunity for me, because you’ve been making colossal, possibly willful blunders for many, many years now. Honking, massive, slap in the face blunders. And you’ve had absolutely no knowledge that you’ve been doing so. As such, I cannot take delight in these.

Allow me to educate you. Every year…wait, I’m going to need to qualify that.

Some years ago, I gave up watching the Oscars for exactly the following reason.

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So: every year that I watched it, which was a fair few, you would always show a montage near the start of your 22 hour event, showing the most iconic moments in cinema. You know, the moments that, in your eyes, and mine too in all fairness, make cinema truly as great as it is.

There’s always good odds you’ll show clips of a man in a hat running away from a big polystyrene ball or light up sticks crackling as they clash or someone wearing fetish gear jumping in the air and then freezing or an old man with a stick telling a big fire monster to go away.

And yes, also a good chance you’ll show Lankester Merrin standing under a streetlight, staring at a window. Or perhaps it will be Jack Torrence being a cheeky chappy and giving his wife a jump by putting an axe he’s found into the bathroom door.

I’m not going to expect you to show a man in a lady mask skilfully doing a trick of spinning a chainsaw around (you’re not that cultured or artistically aware, so I won’t unfairly expect you to have that, that’d be like expecting my dog to know what a Focusrite Scarlett Solo is), but you might even stretch yourself to show a naughty man in a Captain Kirk mask playing some pranks on babysitters.

A respectable amount of horror films then.

And yet. And yet… when it comes to handing out the awards, do you ever reward films like those you highlight as some of the pinnacles of cinema?

Sure, you’ll chuck out the special effects statues and a few token bigger nominations for masterpieces like The Return of the King and Heath Ledger’s Joker, but A) that’s not good enough and B) even then, horror gets a real kicking.

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Rick Baker, Makeup winner for An American Werewolf in London in 1982 with presenters Vincent Price and Kim Hunter

There have been some brilliant horror films in recent years. The Shallows. Train to Busan. The Invitation. Dead Snow 2. The Witch. It Follows. Maniac. Blair Witch. And these run the length and breadth of the genre, from pretty girls in bikinis screaming at sharks to arthouse historicals. From shock-your-brains-out found footage movies to foreign language critical darlings.

You hold up similar films, like The Exorcist, The Shining, Alien, Halloween and more, as some of the greatest in the artform. And yet, more recent movies in the genre, often just as high quality as those I’ve mentioned, never get a whiff of Academy acclaim.

It’s like a horror movie can’t be worthy (with a few exceptions) if it wasn’t made before I was born.

Are you culturally narrow minded and out of touch or complete and total wussies? Or are you both: inept cowards?

How dare you – how dare you – take stunning moments of horror and use them to pump up your audience for a night of cinematic celebration, and then just cast them into the bin when you’re done with them like some used prophylactic.

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We can all see, we all know, that these movies are among the best. So I came to a realisation several years ago. If I and everyone knows, 100% for certain, that these movies are among the best, and there’s a discrepancy between them being the best and you claiming to reward the best, then there can only be one conclusion. You’re not good enough. You’re inept, or cowards, or inept cowards.

You have set out a goal to reward the best, no matter what it is, but you repeatedly and consistently fail at your aims. Through your continued failure you’ve proven yourself to be irrelevant. And through your inability to realise this you’ve proven yourself either stupid, or, if it’s wilful, arrogant.

And that’s why I turned my back on the you and I no longer give you any weight whatsoever. It’s why so many more are doing the same and will continue to do so if you don’t fix your problem with genre cinema. Especially horror.

Up yours, Oscars.

Love,

Horror.

Talk to @RJBayley about horror movies. Check out his creative projects like his upcoming vampire audiobook on his Facebook page and rjbayley.com

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