Just six horror movies in the history of cinema have ever been nominated for Best Picture by the Academy (counting Black Swan and Get Out, of course), so fans of the genre should be used to their favorite films being snubbed. However, in 2020 the Oscars stooped to a new low, failing to acknowledge a veteran actor in their ‘In Memoriam’ section of the broadcast with nearly 150 acting credits on his resume spanning a robust six decades of work. Sid Haig, who passed away on September 19, 2019 at the age of 80, was one of at least five big Hollywood names who left us in the past year left out of the video package. Shame on you, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Mr. Haig had an incredibly prolific acting career, beginning with his first role in 1960. Over the next few decades he would portray mainly criminal-type roles in limited capacities on numerous television shows and movies. However, this path allowed him to work with the likes of Pam Grier, Roger Corman and George Lucas among many others. Haig actually went through a self-imposed retirement beginning in 1992, due to his inability to secure that big role to define his career. However, with an assist from Quentin Tarantino who cast him as a judge in 1997’s Jackie Brown, Haig would find redemption from an unlikely source. Rob Zombie, while writing and directing his first feature film House of 1000 Corpses, reached out to Haig with a pivotal role created specifically with him in mind. From there the role of Captain Spaulding, one which would eventually go on to become a horror genre icon, was unleashed with Haig breathing new life into both the slasher genre as well as his own career. He would go on to reprise the Spaulding role in two sequels (including a big favorite of HNN, 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects) and inspire countless fans and horror convention attendees to don tattered clothing and paint their faces like the duplicitous clown. A horror film legend was born, and Sid’s cinematic legacy was now solidified.
Along with Mr. Haig, there were other big-time snubs by the Academy in the video package shown live on network television. Legendary comedian Tim Conway, Disney star Cameron Boyce and former Beverly Hills 90210 teen heartthrob Luke Perry were all noticeably absent as well. Interestingly enough, Perry’s last official role was in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (a film that received ten total nominations including Best Picture.)
Sid Haig, along with all of the others left off the video package, certainly deserved better from the Academy. But Mr. Haig’s legacy and impact on not only the horror universe but on Hollywood itself will never fade away. He was a talented man that always spent extra time with his fans and appreciated all of their support, as he did at Connecticut HorrorFest 2017. The Academy should be embarrassed for the obvious omission, but horror fans everywhere will continue to honor his impressive and lengthy career. We here at HNN choose to remember Mr. Haig as he should be, a bad-ass actor and a true pioneer in the industry. RIP.