Silence of the Lambs was released on this day in 1991.
Many film fans prefer to call Silence of the Lambs a thriller or perhaps even a crime drama, but let’s be real here: it is, at the end of the day, a horror movie. I recently spoke with filmmaker Joe Lynch about this, and he summed it up better than I ever could: “I get how it could be seen as non-horror,” he told me, “but that movie is straight up Gothic Horror using crime film tropes.”
The bummer of some horror fans refusing to accept Silence of the Lambs as a horror movie? It takes away from the film one of its biggest and most awesome claims to fame: it is, to date and probably forever, the only horror movie to EVER be crowned Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
At the 1992 ceremony, Silence of the Lambs not only won Best Picture but pretty much swept the whole damn night. It became, at the time, only the third film in Oscar history to conquer the “big five” categories; Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster won Best Actor and Best Actress, Ted Tally won Best Adapted Screenplay, and Jonathan Demme won Best Director.
The film was also nominated in the editing and sound categories.
Mind you, other classic horror films like Jaws and The Exorcist were nominated for Best Picture, and many horror movies have been nominated in other categories over the years, but in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards, Silence of the Lambs is the only one that ever took home the golden statue for Best Picture. So please. Call it what it is: an exceptional horror movie.
Check out vintage videos of all the film’s Oscar wins below!