Though Oscar voters are usually scared off by horror films, they have made exceptions over the years, showering prizes upon the likes of “The Exorcist” (1973), “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) and most recently “Get Out” (2017). Will “Hereditary” be the latest fright-fest to conjure nominations? Gold Derby recently spoke with stars Toni Collette and Alex Wolff, writer-director Ari Aster and composer Colin Stetson about their work on the movie.
This A24 thriller centers on Annie (Collette), whose family experiences a series of strange and disturbing events after the death of her mother. “This woman has been betrayed by her mother her entire life,” Collette explains about Annie. “Every decision hasn’t really been her own, and she lives with this ominous dread of knowing something’s wrong but she doesn’t really know what it is.” Thus far Collette has won Best Actress at the Gotham Awards and earned nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. Now she could return to the Oscar race 18 years after her first bid for another horror hit, “The Sixth Sense.”
Annie eventually realizes that her son, Peter (Wolff), is imperiled by these supernatural disturbances. “This movie is like watching someone lose their mind in real time and literally break,” Wolff says of his emotionally demanding role. “It was so physical and so visceral and I had to be so un-self-conscious. I couldn’t act or fake this. I had to really go through hell.”
Aster made his directorial debut with this film, which was “born of very personal feelings” for him. “Ultimately the horror genre is a great filter to pass [through] personal things, and out comes something else,” he explains. “For me it was a way of finding the catharsis in an otherwise very bleak story.” Aster garnered a Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature, and Gotham noms for Breakthrough Director and the Audience Award.
Though he didn’t make the cut on the academy’s official shortlist for Best Score, Stetson received acclaim for his work. As a musician, he has collaborated with such bands as Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Bell Orchestre. His music has also been heard in the films “Rust and Bone” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013), and “The Rover” (2014). And he created a score for Hulu‘s sci-fi series “The First.”
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