Are You Scared Yet? A Look Back on Oscar-Winning Thrillers: Part-2 What Happened Next!

25 Jun

6th article in our 7 week series on Psychological Thrillers.

In the previous article we looked at five Oscar winning psychological thrillers, in this one we’ll look at the winners to see if they went on to do anymore movies, in the same genre that were Oscar nominated or won. As there are many talented people who have worked on these movies and won, we thought it best to narrow it down to one person of each film and one or two movies that they went on to work on. If we didn’t we’d be here for a very long time! Also, Inception hasn’t been included because it was only released in 2010 and the winners haven’t had time to make other psychological thrillers. Feel to add more or even discuss their past work in the comments!


George Barnes won the Best Cinematography award for Rebecca in the 13th Oscar ceremony [1]. It was his first time working with Alfred Hitchcock and Selznick International Pictures but it was not his last time either. In 1945 they teamed up to make Spellbound and had 5 nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Music and Best Supporting Actor) in the 18th Academy Awards. Unfortunately, Spellbound only won in Best Music [2].

Fun Fact: George Barnes worked on 145 films during his career and was Oscar nominated 8 times [3], with 3 nominations in the 1st Academy Awards [4]! Rebecca was his only won though.

The French Connection

Gene Hackman, who won Best Actor in the 44th Academy Awards for his role in The French Connection, has been nominated 5 times for an Oscar and won again for his supporting role in Unforgiven. Although those nominations are for either for crime or drama films, he has been in another Oscar nominated psychological thriller film. In The Conversation, Gene stars as Harry Caul, a paranoid man who works in secret surveillance. Haunted by a previous case which ended badly, he tries not to make the same mistake again. However on a new case, he can see the same tragedy happening again and starts to obsess over the meaning of one ambiguous conversation. In the 47th Academy Award Show it was nominated in 3 categories, Best Film, Best Sound and Best Original Screenplay [5].


John Williams won his 2nd Oscar for his score for Jaws in 1976 [6]. His next psychological thriller (albeit in a Sci-Fi setting) would be in 2002 for Minority Report working again with Steven Spielberg. The film is set in the future where crimes can be viewed in advance and police can stop it before it actually happens. It is believed to be an almost perfect system but when one of the police officers is reported to soon commit a murder, he is force to go on the run. He must figure out what could possibly happen for him to go against everything he believes in before the event happens and to clear his name. It was nominated for Best Sound Editing [7]. Next up, was another Spielberg/Williams collaboration in 2005 that fared a little bit better than Minority Report at the Oscars. The historic psychological thriller film, Munich, is based on the true story of revenge over the murder of Israeli athletic team at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Although at first it doesn’t seem to be a psychological thriller, the main character is soon faced with problems over who can be trusted and whether revenge is necessary. For this film, it was nominated for Best Director, Best Music Score, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film. Sadly it didn’t win in any of the categories [8].

The Matrix Trilogy

Although the first film was released in 1999, like Inception, there hasn’t been much time for the nominees to do other type of film genres before coming back for another shot at psychological thriller films. One person has though. Janek Sirrs, who won the Best Visual Effects Oscar with his other two colleagues, went on to work on The Prestige in 2006 [9]. The film is about two rival magicians who try to outwit and outperform the other, with one of them becoming obsessed by it. The movie earned two Oscar nominations in Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography [10].

Please join for a discussion Tuesday 6/26/2012@7pmEST/12UTC












55 Responses to “Are You Scared Yet? A Look Back on Oscar-Winning Thrillers: Part-2 What Happened Next!”

  1. Comic Relief June 25, 2012 at 7:39 PM #

    Here’s the feature footage of the actual chase scene for the French Connection’

  2. Comic Relief June 25, 2012 at 7:40 PM #


    Do you believe the director needs to break new ground cinematically to make a thriller work? Here are filmmakers talking about making the scene.

    • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

      I don’t think you need to break new ground cinematically to make a movie work. I think if you’ve got good material and good talent, then it will work. That being said, I do think that you need to push the limits from time to time so that the industry grows.

      The video…Wow, that is insane! I don’t know if I could do that, lol!

  3. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM #

    Great article Ozzie…..I really loved Munich. I think I might have seen The Conversation but can’t remember. It looks familiar. Thanks for posting the video it helped jog my memory.

  4. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:13 PM #

    hi everyone!

    Welcome to our discussion tonight.

    • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

      Hi Openbook

      • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

        Hi CR!

        Nice to see u. I was just listening to the French Connection video u put up. I think u may be right about directors finding something new. I’ve been watching Limitless I really like that film for its story and concept.

        • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:35 PM #

          Well if you agree don’t you think this behavior (on the Director’s part) is fairly dangerous, given the way actors are frequently used in risky ways? Do you think a suspense full scene or set of sequences is possible without physically putting an actor is harm’s way?

          • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:35 PM #

            Oops I meant “in harms’ way”.

            • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM #


              That’s what stunt doubles are for. It gets ridiculous when directors get confused and expect actors to do what stunt doubles are trained to do.

              • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

                I can’t help but agree.

                • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:05 PM #

                  I agree too!

  5. ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM #

    Hi all! 🙂

    • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM #

      Hi Ozzie-

      How are u? What did u like about researching this article? Did u find out anything new u did not know?

      • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

        I’ve got a headache. How are you?

        I learnt that Gene Hackman has done alot of western/crime/war movies but I don’t think that is what you meant, lol! I’ve got a mental block going on but I’ll keep on thinking because I’m sure there was something I learnt but I can’t remember at the moment!

        • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

          Sorry to hear your not well. Me I’ve had better days. Tuesday’s are not good. But Hey! I can’t complain there are others worse off than I. Hmm! I will take the Gene Hackman story. No need to rack brain further.

          • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

            *hugs* 🙂

            • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

              I’m still thinking though because I know there was something that I learned that I thought was good and it will drive me insane till I remember, lol!

              • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

                LOL! Take your time Oz!!

    • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM #

      Hi Ozzie.

      • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

        Hi CR! How are you?

  6. Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM #

    Sorry Ozzie,

    I couldn’t help it. It’s such a great movie

    It took a lot of self-control to not post the whole movie.

    • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM #

      Here’s 2 of 11.

    • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

      Lol! I know what you mean. I know if I click the play button, I will not be able to stop watching till the whole movie is finished!

      • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:04 PM #

        She’s abused by so many people you can’t figure out how much more she can take.

        • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

          LOL! I know this scene here says it all. Did u know Fontaine and her sister Olivia de Havilland disliked each other? Olivia did not like her younger sister’s acting and did not support her.

          • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

            Unfortunately this is hilarious… for all the wrong reasons. Wow they really look a like also.

            • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:34 PM #

              I know right? LOL!! U can say Fontaine had a lot of field experience for the role of Rebecca. I mean she got it from LO and then her sister. She was a real trooper and kept at it despite the naysayers.

              • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

                …and we’re all better for it.

                • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:47 PM #

                  She’s young.
                  She’s a visual artist.
                  Mandalay is burned down in the end.

                  I never realized how similar this is to “Jane Eyre.”

                  • Comic Relief June 27, 2012 at 9:51 AM #

                    Also, in both cases (“Rebecca” and “Jane Eyre”) it’s a woman who burns down the house(s).

          • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:44 PM #

            I did not know that!

  7. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM #

    CR-Why do u like this film?

    • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

      In terms of women’s relationships, it’s kind of crazy for it’s period.

      • The relationship between the employer character and fontaine’s character.
      • The relationship between the house keeper character and fontaine’s character.

      • After being such a dominant charismatic figure in the movie, he really becomes a kitten in the end.

      Why do you like it?

      • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM #


        You told me some really funny story about “Rebecca” once; would you please repeat it again.

        It was something like Lawrence Olivier’s wife (Vivian Leigh) had trouble with Joan Fontaine, would you repeat it again?

        • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM #

          Oh right! Actually it was LO who did not think Fontaine was good for the role and thought his wife would be better suited. He thought Fontaine lacked experience and gave her a hard time on set. He threatened to leave the film because Fontaine was so nervous around him all the time. AH actually helped Fontaine prepare for each scene prior to filming.

          • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

            Thank you.

            • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

              Did u know LO submitted this audition tape to AH while they were in the middle shooting Rebecca because he did not think the chemistry between he and Fontaine was working?

      • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

        Maybe it’s not so crazy, because it is an old movie, I don’t recognize how young Rebecca is supposed to be. This interaction between Rebecca and the house keeper tells me volumes I could not perceive when I saw the first film.

        • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

          CR- What the H***? Where did u find this?

  8. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    The reason I mentioned Limitless because of the Maserati car scene. It reminds of the French Connection.

    • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

      here it is

      • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

        I tend to want to see “Limitless” as science fiction.

        Yet I agree the adrenalin rush is similar to car chase scene.

        I guess this is the thriller aspect to the whole drama that helps it possibly satisfy this category.

        • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

          By the way I LOVE this movie, and Deniro despite only having a few significant scenes is wonderful!!!!!!!!

  9. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM #

    CR- Regarding Rebecca? I like how we never see only hear about the antagonist of the film. I love how Fontaine makes the antagonist larger than life through her anxiety and fear. AH does a really good job of using lighting and close-ups that makes audiences feel what Fontaine is experiencing. I mean the bedroom scene when the maid is trying to get Fontaine to kill herself is powerful.

  10. Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:03 PM #

    I agree. Is this (the bedroom scene) the part that you think is the most thriller(esque).

    • Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:15 PM #

      Yes! That’s the scene I’m talking about.

  11. Open Book June 26, 2012 at 8:42 PM #


    I have to go. Ozzie great article and I learned a lot from it. I will check back later if there are anymore comments. LB and Paris we missed u. Hope u are well.


    • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

      Thank you for coming and for putting up with my headache induced mind block, lol! Take care too! *hugs*

    • Comic Relief June 26, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

      bye OB and Ozzie,

      I have to leave too. Paris and LB I agree. See you all soon.

      • ozzie20 June 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM #

        Bye CR! Thank you coming and an extra thank you for the rebecca videos. I know what I’m going to be watching tonight! 🙂 Take care.

        Paris and LB, I’m missing you two lovely ladies as well! 🙂

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