The Shape Of Water And Get Out Aren’t The Only Genre Movies To Win Oscars

Last night, Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era monster movie/love story The Shape of Water—up for 13 awards at this year’s Oscars—went home with the Academy’s two biggest prizes: Best Director and Best Picture. The double win was a pretty big deal (and not just because the film was shot by a largely Canadian crew with locations in Toronto and Hamilton). Genre films don’t often win in the big Oscar categories. Peter Jackson’s fantasy film, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, won back in 2004 but The Shape of Water is the first sci-fi-tinged film to win Best Picture… like, ever.

These kinds of movies aren’t big with the Academy’s voters, who tend to prefer dramas (see: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), but last night they did well. Horror flick Get Out, up for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, won in that last category, and Blade Runner: 2049 won for Visual Effects and Cinematography. And there have been some other genre standouts that have gotten attention from the Academy in the past. Here’s a list of our favourites:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Steven Spielberg, who was at the ceremony last night as one of the producers of the Oscar-nominated movie, The Post, received nine nominations for 1977’s Close Encounters—including Best Director. The movie won in the Best Cinematography category but was bested by another huge science fiction movie in most of the technical categories: Star Wars.


The Silence of The Lambs

Last night, the Oscars honoured the late director Jonathan Demme in their annual In Memoriam segment. At the 1992 Oscars, his brilliant horror movie was nominated for seven and won FIVE big Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), and Best Actress (Jodie Foster).


2001: A Space Odyssey

As you might easily guess, 2001, the Citizen Kane of sci fi movies, was nominated in the Art Direction category. The film lost. To Oliver! Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece also lost in the Directing and Writing categories. It did manage to sang a single statuette for Best Visual Effects, though. We demand a do-over.


Rosemary’s Baby

It’s one of the most iconic horror films ever made but the Roman Polanski-directed Rosemary’s Baby didn’t get a whole lot of Oscar love. Polanski was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay but not Best Director. And Ruth Gordon was nominated (and won!) in the Best Supporting Actress category, yet Mia Farrow’s unforgettable performance was forgotten (at least by Academy voters).



According to 1989 Oscars, the Ghost with the Most had a team of makeup artists with the most to thank for some of his success. The horror/comedy forerunner to Get Out (which was both more horrific AND funnier) took home an Academy Award for Best Makeup. No Special Effects nom for those charmingly old-timey Sandworms? Harsh.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Will Arnold Schwarzenegger ever win an Oscar? Before you scoff at this question, please remember who the current president of the United States is. Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which starred Arnold as the title character, actually picked up four Academy Awards, for Visual Effects, Makeup, Sound Editing, and Sound Effects. Not bad for a sci fi flick about cyborg-on-cyborg violence.



This triple Oscar-winner (for Sound, Film Editing, and Original Score) also got a nod in the Best Picture category but lost to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (an excellent movie that teeters on the border between drama and horror). While Spielberg may have lost this particular award, he’s gone on to win two other Best Director Oscars (for Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List) and continues his work in the sci fi genre with this month’s Ready Player One.