Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror

Posts

After highlighting women snubbed by the Academy, we’re back with ten memorable male performances in horror worthy of Oscar recognition.

No time to read? Click the button below to listen to this post.

Stone-faced, wild-eyed characters, so many different portrayals that have been solidified into legend.

From the wide eyes of James McAvoy to the untethered rage of Nicolas Cage, these actors have achieved some great heights in other genres but didn’t get nearly enough love for their Oscar-worthy performances in horror.

The Academy generally ignores the horror genre for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s the subject matter that pushes buttons and boundaries, the shocking scenes that require a strong constitution, or the historical perception of genre films as base, tasteless, and undesirable. Perhaps it’s just the dichotomy of seeing a gifted thespian deliver a jaw-dropping performance that feels woefully out of place in an abattoir.

Previously, we celebrated some of the outstanding women of horror and their earth-shattering, unforgettable performances that deserved more recognition.

Here, I’m honoring ten men who gave award-worthy performances in the horror and thriller genres, defying critics’ expectations and giving us some of the best films and characters of the last four decades.

While this list is certainly not meant to be a comprehensive and definitive list of great genre performances, it is a selection of past and present snubs for actors who truly immersed themselves in the roles and became monsters or saviors as part of our wonderfully weird and often misunderstood genre.

1. John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)

The sequel to the stunning found footage phenomenon Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane took a small ensemble and stranded us in a bunker, not knowing if the world outside is more dangerous than being trapped with strangers in supposed safety.

John Goodman isn’t the face we immediately think of when associating with a villain. However, when this film came around, Goodman put on a show that proved he could play someone to fear.

Hearing someone accept someone’s apology and then immediately shoot them to be dismembered and dissolved was one of the big moments of that film where Goodman remains poker-faced, angry for certain, but unyielding.

His frosty, suspicious attitude is perfect for generating mountains of tension within the safety of the bunker, making our other leads question if outside might actually be the better option.

Unhinged with a hair trigger, Goodman is a villain to fear as much as the end of the world as his safety comes with a price tag of loyalty and belief.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead puts on a fantastic performance of her own. However, compared to Goodman’s frightening, secretive energy, it’s hard to compare. With a man that ferocious at the helm, I don’t know which danger I’d be more eager to brave: a bunker with a paranoid stranger, safe, for now, or the outside world, which could potentially hold otherworldly danger.

With no Oscars to speak of but many Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, Goodman is certainly a decorated actor. Yet, I believe this performance could have been his breakthrough at the Academy.

Earning him a Saturn Award for best supporting actor, let’s say Goodman’s performance is so terrifyingly stoic, surgical, and scary, it could drive you to face the unknown.

2. James McAvoy (Glass)