Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Exorcist and the Academy Awards

On this date in 1974, the William Friedkin film, The Exorcist, entered the 46th Academy Awards with an impressive 10 nominations, including such heavies as Best Picture, Director (William Friedkin), Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Supporting Actress (Linda Blair), Supporting Actor (Jason Miller), Adapted Screenplay (William Peter Blatty), and more. It was a notable and remarkable feat, as the Academy has long been accused of looking down on "genre" films, with only a few exceptions (most notably, The Silence of the Lambs years later). By the time the night was over (marked by the infamous streaker that did little to unsettle David Niven), The Exorcist had made only two trips to the podium, watching instead as The Sting took most of the major awards and the actors and actresses awards being spread among other more conventional films. Despite this, The Exorcist still managed to grab the Oscar for Best Sound and, even more impressively, an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for William Peter Blatty who adapted his own novel to screen.

In honor of the film's achievement 35 years ago, we thought it would be a good opportunity to pay a visit to two of those infamous locations seen in The Exorcist. The first stop is the "MacNeil House" in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown (see The Exorcist (1973): The MacNeil House) - where so much fog was used to mark the arrival of the character of Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) that nearby-Virginia firefighters rushed to the scene, mistakenly believing that the neighborhood was on fire. Right next to the home used is the infamous staircase where Father Karras took his self-sacrificing leap to save the day (see The Exorcist Steps) - a popular stop for tourists to the area today. The horror genre's moments in Oscar recognition have been few and far between, but here's hoping that a few more gems are on the horizon that even the Academy cannot ignore.

-Casey H.


Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

That movie made a big impact on me as a kid, I think I slept with the light on for a week.

Thanks for pointing out the location - I will have to check it out next time I am in the area.

BTW - this is a great blog.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

There's not many horror films that are disturbing, butr there are scenes/images in the exorcist that don't leave the mind.

I agree with The Frog Quyeen... Great Blog!!! (& there's not too many.)