Best Actor – Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Kaluuya is easily one of the best actors working today and this film displays exactly why. Playing Chris, a photographer going to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, Kaluuya eases from laidback and humorous to petrified and desperate, brilliantly bringing to life all the complexity written for him by Jordan Peele. It is a tender and gut-wrenching portrayal and one that rightfully earned Kaluuya an Oscar nomination for best leading performance.
Best Film – Get Out
Jordan Peele’s transformation from comedian to master of modern horror was all thanks to this spectacular debut feature. Get Out brought a new perspective to horror by examining the social issues of racism faced by black people in America and appropriation by seemingly liberal minded white groups. The film’s sunken place metaphor resonates with thousands as does the well-known feeling of being an outsider as a minority in a group. The acting performances from everyone in the cast match the brilliance in writing and directing and the subtle visual clues dropped through the film mean this is a feature that demands multiple viewings. This is one of few horror films actually recognised at the Oscars, leading Peele to become the first black filmmaker to win best original screenplay.
Best Special/ Practical Effects – Alien Covenant
Sleek sci-fi and monumental visuals welcome us into Ridley Scott’s world. Although computer effects were utilised for the construction of spaceships and mountainous landscapes, it wouldn’t be an Alien film without practical effects. Makeup effects were championed when portraying the infection of people by the aliens, and hundreds of prosthetics were created for the xenomorphs themselves, helping keep the raw, real monster visuals we’ve come to love from Ridley.
Best Gore – Revenge
A film so bathed in blood, it’s a wonder how actors weren’t slipping in every take. With exploding heads, dismembered eyes and multiple gunshots, gore literally sprays onto the camera lens. Revenge is a harrowing film about a young woman (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) seeking bloody revenge for a sexual assault and if the plot isn’t enough to shake you, perhaps seeing someone punched in the exposed intestine will be.
Best Score – Michael Abels (Get Out)
Yet another win for Get Out and once again, more than deserved. Get Out was the first feature film composed by Abels, with him actually working as a music teacher before Peele discovered him online. The score opens with folklore sounding strings, reminiscent of La Danse Macabre, composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, but soon switches to a “gospel horror” sung in Swahili, warning our lead character of the dangers to come. It’s a unique take for horror soundtracks and one that perfectly sets the film’s tone and lives on in audiences minds long after the credits roll. The rest of the soundtrack continues to tease the audience with gentle, dreamlike harps and sudden, clanging piano with scratching, panicked strings. After the spectacularly unnerving yet beautiful score, it’s no wonder Peele sought out Abel’s talents again in his follow up, Us.