Oscars and Horror

Well its award season and everybody loves a little trivia so I’ve cobbled together a little list of Actors and Directors who not only became famous after horror but also won themselves an Oscar. So here we go in no particular order.

Jennifer Connelly (Phenomena 1985) Image

Getting a gig with Dario Argento isn’t exactly slumming it but who would have guessed the young lady would go all the way to the Academy Awards. Phenomena is a bizarre film that almost seems like an extended hallucination. The roll on Phenomena wasn’t her first but it was her first starring roll and big break. She would go on to win an Oscar for her supporting roll in A Beautiful Mind.

Renee Zellweger (The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre AKA Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The next generation 1994) Image

Dear god I hated this movie. Is it bad it was the first Texas Chainsaw I ever saw?  Renee Zellwegger could have easily vanished after this forgettable blot on the TCM legacy but she pulled out a win for best supporting actress for 2003’s Cold Mountain.

George Clooney (Return to Horror High 1987) Image

Clooney has made a lot of movies and it stands to reason he’d grab an Oscar for at least one of em. Before his super fame he was in the fun little horror flick Return to horror High. It’s also said he had a small cameo in the notorious Grizzly 2: The predator but I cannot confirm that! Years later he’d get best supporting actor for 2005’s Syriana.

Jack Nicholson (The Little Shop of Horrors 1960)


This is a pretty famous cameo that a lot of horror fans are aware of but it’s just great to see a young spry Nicholson hamming it up for the camera. He worked a lot with schlock master Roger Corman so he did a lot of genre films in the early days but Shop of Horrors is defiantly one of his best. He’s gotten a few Oscars but his first was for 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Clint Eastwood. (Revenge of the Creature 1955) Image

Universal’s sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon had its moments but none of the iconic charm of the first film. What the movie did have was a cameo but a young fresh faced fellow by the name of Clint Eastwood. He’s picked up a lot of awards over the years but he did nab best picture and best director for 1992’s Unforgiven.

Peter Jackson (Brain Dead/Dead Alive 1992) Image

For my last entry I’ll do a pretty famous one that I just couldn’t pass up. Also, I know I’d get a lot of comments about why I left it out. Largely considered one of the goriest-most ridiculous movies ever made; Brain Dead or Dead Alive as it’s also known will leave you speechless. Jackson of course started earning Oscars for the Lord of the Rings movies.


And there we have it. There’s a lot of other actors and directors who’s started very modestly in Hollywood and went on to get top honours for other works. It just goes to show you that horror is a great way to get your foot in the door. Now all we need is a real awards show for horror movies themselves. (No, the Scream awards don’t count).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: