10 Genre Movies That Won an Oscar

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This year’s Oscar nominations sparked all the controversy with one giant omission: Spider Man: No return home of the best movie. Although the film landed a nomination for Best Visual Effects, the internet went ablaze with no recognition for Best Picture. Since then, the likes of writer-director Kevin Smith and comedian Jimmy Kimmel have made headlines for criticizing the elitism of the Oscars.

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Not much can be deduced from No coming homethe lack of a Best Picture nomination. It may be elitist snobbery, or it may just be that the Academy felt other films were more worthy. While there may be a bias towards period pieces and films tackling societal issues, the Academy has a history of awarding genre films in the craft and above the line categories.

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The Shape of Water (2017)


elisa and the amphibian man in the water bath

The shape of water follows Elisa Esposito, a mute woman who works as a janitor in a government facility during the Cold War. One day, Elisa discovers a half-man, half-fish creature held hostage in a reservoir. The two form a bond and fall in love, setting Elisa on a mission to free her love so the two can live happily ever after.

The Academy fell in love with Guillermo del Toro’s tribute to foreigners around the world. The film won Best Picture and Best Director while Alexandre Desplat won Best Music for his romantic and catchy score, and the team of Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin won the award for best production design for bringing Cold War-era Baltimore to life.


Get Out (2017)


Daniel Kaluuya cries and looks terrified in Get Out

get out follows Chris Washington, a black man who is nervous about meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. The reunion is filled with the microaggressions that POC often faces, but Chris is unprepared for the truly gruesome plans the family has in store for him.

In his directorial debut, one of the best of the 2010s, Jordan Peele crafted horror satire that captured cultural conversation in a way very few films have done before or since. The Academy was also thrilled with the film’s big ideas and depth, capable of being enjoyed both as a thrilling horror film and a powerful examination of being black in America. Peele made history as the first black screenwriter to win Best Original Screenplay.


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)


mad max fury road max furiosa poster

Continuation part and reboot part, Mad Max: Fury Road follows the titular character as he becomes involved in a massive car chase. As the chase progresses, he assists a group of women led by Furiosa, a war captain who promises to get the women to safety.

George Miller raised the bar for the action genre, creating one of the best action movies of the 2010s, full of awe-inspiring visuals and non-stop thrills. For its quirky theatrics and gruesome post-apocalyptic world brought to life, the film won six Oscars, including Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Black Panther (2018)


After its introduction into Captain America: Civil WarT’Challa leads his own adventure in Black Panther. Ryan Coogler’s entry into the superhero genre explores the growing pains T’Challa must face now that he’s King of Wakanda and a secret American cousin is claiming the throne.


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Black Panther holds the distinction of being the first – and currently the only – film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win an Oscar. In fact, it won three – Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design – for fully realizing Wakanda’s Afrofuturistic aesthetic blend. Additionally, Carter made history as the first Oscar-winning black costume designer.

The Dark Knight (2008)


Batman defeats the Joker in The Dark Knight

In The black Knight, Gotham City is swept away by the charm of District Attorney Harvey Dent – even Bruce’s childhood girlfriend, Rachel Dawes. But the whole town is thrown into chaos by the entrance of a mysterious and unpredictable clown. It’s up to Bruce to stop the Joker’s antics and save Gotham City’s morality.


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Despite The black Knightthe omission of the Best Picture list – consistently cited as an influence on the Academy’s expansion of Best Picture (per The New York Times) – the film picked up an impressive two-win Oscar. Sound designer Richard King won Best Sound Editing for creating the many night-filling explosive sounds and Heath Ledger posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for his terrifying performance as The Joker.

Avatar (2009)


James Cameron created a sensation like no other in his 2009 sci-fi epic. Audiences flocked to the theater to see the wonders of Pandora, and the Academy was also wowed by the exotic flora and fauna. The film won three awards: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)


This Harry Potter spin-off introduces audiences to wizarding zoologist Newt Scamander, the in-universe author of the titular manual, Fantastic beasts and where to find them. In this film, Newt’s research in New York is interrupted when some of his creatures are released into the city. In his efforts to reclaim his beasts, Newt crosses paths with one of the most dangerous wizards to ever exist.

The David Yates spin-off caused a stir at the 87th Academy Awards when costume designer Colleen Atwood won Best Costume for recreating 1920s New York fashion.. Even more shockingly, it’s the first – and currently only – Oscar win for the wizarding world franchise.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (2004)


This 2004 Jim Carey vehicle adapts the first three novels in the beloved children’s series. Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of the Baudelaire siblings, a trio of recently orphaned children who are passed down from distant relative to distant relative. Throughout the madness, they are followed by Count Olaf, another distant relative obsessed with the orphans’ important legacy.

RELATED: 10 Comedies That Received Multiple Oscar Nominations

Brad Silberling’s big-screen adaptation of Daniel Handler’s Absurd Adventures was a big tech performer at the 77th Academy Awards, earning four Academy Award nominations. The team of Valli O’Reilly and Bill Corso received the film’s only win in the Best Makeup category for transforming Carrey’s Count Olaf into his many disguises.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse features Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teenager who is bitten by a radioactive spider, gains superhuman abilities, and crosses paths with the evil Kingpin. However, Miles’ world has crossed over to other universes, bringing together an eclectic and likeable team of Spider-People. It’s up to Miles to discover his own potential, return his team to their home universe, and save the day.

SpiderverseThe mix of nostalgia and parody reinvents Spider-Man lore for the big screen, redefining what can be done in comic book movies and animated films. The Academy noticed and awarded Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This is Sony Picture Animation’s first victory.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy


the lord of the rings the nine rings of power nazgul

The Lord of the Rings The trilogy covers Frodo Baggins’ journey to destroy the One Ring, covering the formation of the team in Fellowship of the Ring to the decisive battle against Sauron and his army in Return of the King.

Peter Jackson’s epic adaptations of Tolkien’s adventures are goalposts for genre films at the Oscars. For its breathtaking achievement in bringing Middle-earth to the big screen, the trilogy won seventeen Oscars. Return of the King earned each of its nominations in an 11/11 sweep that is the biggest of any film. Wins included Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture.

NEXT: 10 Romantic Comedies That Got Multiple Oscar Nominations

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