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Every horror movie that's won an Oscar, ranked by critics

Every horror movie that's won an Oscar, ranked by critics
  • Only 18 horror movies have won Oscars in the Academy Award's 92-year history.
  • Critical and commercial successes like "The Exorcist," "The Fly," and "Misery" make the list.
  • "The Silence of the Lambs" is the only horror movie to ever win an Oscar for best picture.

18. "Sleepy Hollow" (1999) won an Oscar for best art direction.

18. "Sleepy Hollow" (1999) won an Oscar for best art direction.
Johnny Depp in "Sleepy Hollow." Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%

Plot: Based on Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow," the 1999 movie, "Sleepy Hollow," by Tim Burton, tells the story of a constable (played by Johnny Depp) who helps out small-town residents who are terrorized by a supernatural perpetrator, The Headless Horseman.

"Sleepy Hollow" was also nominated for Oscars for best cinematography and costume design.

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17. "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) won Oscars for best makeup, costume design, and sound effects editing.

17. "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) won Oscars for best makeup, costume design, and sound effects editing.
Gary Oldman as Dracula. Columbia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%

Plot: "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) is an action-packed, and terrifying, horror movie about Count Dracula (played by Gary Oldman), a vampire who terrorizes those around him before squaring off against vampire-slayer Van Helsing (played by Anthony Hopkins).

"Dracula" was also nominated for an Oscar for best art direction.

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16. "The Phantom of the Opera" (1943) won Oscars for art direction and cinematography.

16. "The Phantom of the Opera" (1943) won Oscars for art direction and cinematography.
"The Phantom of the Opera." Universal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%

Plot: "The Phantom of the Opera," based on Gaston Leroux's 1910 book by the same name, is a tragic movie about ill-fated violinist Enrique Claudin and his unrequited soprano love Christine.

"The Phantom of the Opera" was also nominated for Oscars for music and sound scoring.

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15. "The Exorcist" (1973) won Oscars for best adapted screenplay and sound.

15. "The Exorcist" (1973) won Oscars for best adapted screenplay and sound.
Max von Sydow as the priest in "The Exorcist." Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

Plot: Adapted from a 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, "The Exorcist" is easily one of the most recognizable horror movies ever made. Linda Blair stars as a young girl who has become possessed by demonic spirits while her mother, Chris (played by Ellen Burstyn) desperately looks for answers before ultimately seeking help from a priest (played by Max von Sydow).

"The Exorcist" was nominated in a total of 10 Oscar categories: best picture, director, best actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, art direction, cinematography, and editing. It won top honors for best adapted screenplay and sound.

The horror cult classic had the rare honor of being the first horror movie to be nominated for the best picture Oscar.

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14. "Black Swan" (2010) won best actress Oscar for Natalie Portman's acting chops.

14. "Black Swan" (2010) won best actress Oscar for Natalie Portman's acting chops.
Natalie Portman delivered an Oscar-winning performance in "Black Swan." Fox Searchlight Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

Plot: Natalie Portman delivers a stellar performance as a ballerina who loses her grip on reality as she prepares for the most important role of her career — Odette in Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake."

"Black Swan" was also nominated for Oscars for best cinematography, director, film editing, and best picture.

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T12. "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007) won an Oscar for best art direction.

T12. "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007) won an Oscar for best art direction.
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. DreamWorks Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

Plot: Johnny Depp stars as Sweeney Todd, a murderous barber seeking revenge, in Tim Burton's retelling of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Broadway musical "Sweeney Todd."

"Sweeney Todd" was also nominated for best actor and costume design Oscars.

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T12. "The Omen" (1976) won an Oscar for best original score.

T12. "The Omen" (1976) won an Oscar for best original score.
Gregory Peck and Harvey Spencer Stephens. 20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

Plot: "The Omen" stars Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn, an American diplomat, whose adopted son Damien (played by Harvey Spencer Stephens) exhibits odd behavior. The film ultimately reveals that Damien is the Antichrist.

The movie was also nominated for best original song.

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11. "An American Werewolf in London" (1981) won an Oscar for best makeup.

11. "An American Werewolf in London" (1981) won an Oscar for best makeup.
"An American Werewolf in London." Universal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Plot: "An American Werewolf in London" is a campy horror movie about two backpackers from New York City who are attacked by a werewolf while on vacation in England.

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T9. "Misery" (1990) won an Oscar for best actress for Kathy Bates' chilling performance.

T9. "Misery" (1990) won an Oscar for best actress for Kathy Bates' chilling performance.
"Misery" was directed by Rob Reiner. Columbia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Plot: In "Misery," Kathy Bathes plays a nurse who holds captive an author she rescues from the snow after a car crash. The movie is based on a Stephen King novel.

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T9. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) lead Fredric March won the best actor Oscar.

T9. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) lead Fredric March won the best actor Oscar.
Fredric March in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Paramount

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Plot: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is based on a book by the same name by author R. L. Stevenson and tells the story of a well-liked doctor's transformation into someone more sinister.

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T7. "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962) won an Oscar for best costume design.

T7. "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962) won an Oscar for best costume design.
Joan Crawford and Bette Davis played the main characters in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane." Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Plot: "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" is a psychological horror movie about two sisters, with one holding the other captive out of jealousy.

The movie was also nominated for four other Oscars: best actress, supporting actor, cinematography, and sound.

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T7. "The Fly" (1986) won an Oscar for best makeup.

T7. "The Fly" (1986) won an Oscar for best makeup.
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly." SLM Production

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Plot: In "The Fly," Jeff Goldblum stars as a quirky scientist whose experiments lead to him turning into the insect the movie is named after.

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6. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) won an Oscar for best cinematography.

6. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) won an Oscar for best cinematography.
"The Picture of Dorian Gray." Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Plot: Based on a novel by Oscar Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" tells the story of a handsome man whose outer beauty remains unchanged while his worst qualities are manifested in a painting he keeps locked away.

The movie was also nominated for best actress and cinematography.

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T4. "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) won an Oscar, for Ruth Gordon's performance, in the best supporting actress category.

T4. "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) won an Oscar, for Ruth Gordon's performance, in the best supporting actress category.
Lead Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Miller." Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Plot: "Rosemary's Baby" tells the story of a young couple who move into a new apartment and get trapped (at least, one of them) in an elaborate plan laid out by some very suspicious neighbors.

It was also nominated for a best adapted screenplay Oscar.

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T4. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) won five Oscars for best picture, director, actor, actress, and adapted screenplay.

T4. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) won five Oscars for best picture, director, actor, actress, and adapted screenplay.
Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs." Orion Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Plot: "The Silence of the Lambs," which has achieved cult classic status in the 30 years since its release, tells the story of a young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) who teams up with a convicted serial killer and cannibal (played by Anthony Hopkins) to catch another serial killer who is targeting female victims.

The movie was also nominated for Oscars for best film editing and sound. It is the only horror movie to win the best picture Oscar.

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3. "Aliens" (1986) won Oscars for best sound editing and best visual effects.

3. "Aliens" (1986) won Oscars for best sound editing and best visual effects.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. 20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Plot: "Aliens," a sequel to the 1979 science fiction horror "Alien," sees Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) setting foot on a new planet.

"Aliens" was also nominated for Oscars for best actress, art direction, film editing, original score, and sound.

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T1. "Alien" (1979) won an Oscar for best visual effects.

T1. "Alien" (1979) won an Oscar for best visual effects.
Sigourney Weaver. Twentieth Century-Fox Productions

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Plot: Released seven years before "Aliens," "Alien" is the first movie in the franchise which has a total of six films. In the movie, Ellen Ripley is locked in a space shuttle, fighting against an alien creature that can anticipate her every move.

"Alien" was also nominated for the best art direction Oscar.

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T1. "Get out" (2017) won an Oscar for best original screenplay.

T1. "Get out" (2017) won an Oscar for best original screenplay.
"Get Out." Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Plot: In "Get Out," his first movie as director, Jordan Peele sets the stage for a conversation about race and privilege while narrating a story about a man meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time in a secluded house (a classic horror trope).

"Get Out" was also nominated for best picture, director, and actor Oscars.

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