"Oh The Horror!" with Hesta Prynn - Installment 3 "Oscar Buzz-saw"
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 17:29:36
Oh The Horror! is the place for me, Hesta Prynn, the professional musician, to write not about music, but about the other dope things I'm into—video games, art, life on the road—and particularly my love for the horror genre. I can write 200 words on Krautrock for an indie music mag, but it won’t get me into ComicCon and I suspect this column might. Guys write music to meet girls. Girls write columns, it would seem, to meet dorks.
So it’s award season time and now that I’m up in the mix I’ve been asked to give my Oscar predictions. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild (being a musician there’s the occasional opportunity to be on TV) I’m fortunate enough to receive the screener DVDs they send out in hopes of (exchange for?) my vote. This practice makes it kind of easy to see who will be nominated if not who will actually win. I realize I’m being campaigned to, and as the ultimate fan of a genre that’s barely recognized at mainstream award shows I’m cool to thank them by voting for Colin Firth for Best Actor even if I don’t watch the movie. However, I do wish there were more nominations for fans like me to get excited about.
As I receive, watch, then gift all of these films I can’t help but see the parallels between my two great loves: horror and hip-hop. Horror at the Oscars is to Hip-Hop at the Grammys (circa late 80s of course) I’ll watch your Facebook movie if you send it to me but would it kill the Academy to take 15 minutes with Bloody-Disgusting.com to see what we’re into? Horror fans – like hip-hop fans – are loyal. We follow directors like we follow producers. We understand the genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres of our favorite art form. We love to see the new guys reference the old school - when it’s done well and in a post-modern way of course, don’t steal and think we won’t notice!
Jay-Z said it, Public Enemy said it, ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand ‘winning the first Rap Grammy ever said it – “Grammys don’t respect rap.” We haven’t seen a horror film win Best Picture then have the director boycott the ceremony like Jay-Z did in 1999 when “Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life” won best album. But do the Oscars respect horror?
I say yes and no. In the exact opposite way as Hip-Hop at the Grammys, it seems that the Academy respected the old school and is failing to recognize the new school. The movies that invented the genre, some of which remain my favorite films ever, have seen lots of nominations. Films like Jaws, Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Alien and my #1 fave, The Exorcist, have all received multiple nominations and some wins. But things really taper off in the early 1990s. In 1995 Seven was nominated for Best Editing only, and 1999’s The Sixth Sense (in which M. Night Shayamalan proves himself to be horror’s Ja Rule) was nominated for six awards but won none. There is hardly anything to be seen in the 2000s at all.
What accounts for the converse relationship between hip-hop at the Grammys and horror at the Oscars? It seems like hip-hop started where horror is at now, and vice versa. Today hip-hop is all over the Grammys, but the difference in the amount of money spent on the production and marketing of an Eminem or Kanye West record in 2010 and the money spent on a KRS-One or Big Daddy Kane record in 1989 is enormous. On the other hand, early horror movies that received Oscar noms/wins were huge productions that likely campaigned for this attention to voters like me. In the past fifteen years one might argue that horror has become a more “organic” film genre. Great writing is as imperative as always, but I don’t think fans of horror need to see big names in the lead roles. In fact, I think it actually detracts from the Everyman possibility of terror. Besides, only Wes Craven has the balls to kill off his big money star in the opening scene. Horror directors are doing innovative things in found footage films that are truly reminiscent of hip-hop mix tapes of the mid- to late 1980s.
So, to bring it back to the nominations for this year.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman will win for Black Swan, which I consider semi-horror and you know I loved. Ashley Bell is the horror actress who should be included in this category for The Last Exorcism.
Best Actor: Colin Firth, it seems, will win for The King’s Speech, but I’d vote for Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island, if I could.
Best Picture: I’ll vote for Black Swan but judging from the package that was sent over for The Social Network I can’t see them losing. I would love to see Shutter Island or Let Me In in this category as well. It would be near impossible but totally amazing to see (REC 2) included in the Best Foreign Film nominees.
Best Director: David Fincher for The Social Network, but if they included horror I’d pick Adam Green for Frozen hands down.
Check out Hesta Prynn's Top Ten of 2010 here!
Here's the second installment of Oh The Horror! with Hesta Prynn here!
Here's the first installment of Oh The Horror! with Hesta Prynn here!