Despite rapturous reviews from the likes of The Exorcist director William Friedkin, who said, “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to nominate Jennifer Kent’s debut feature for any Oscars, because scary movies, like funny books, are for children. But the film fared better in its native Australia, where the AACTA, the Academy’s Australian equivalent, gave Kent the award for Best Director, making her the ninth woman to receive the honor. (By contrast, Kathryn Bigelow is the first and currently only woman to receive the Oscar for Best Director.) Kent also received the AACTA award for Best Original Screenplay.
The Babadook also received the award for Best Picture, an honor it shared with Russell Crowe’s directorial debut The Water Diviner. AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said that a tie for Best Picture was “not unprecedented,” citing the tie between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave at the Producers Guild Awards last year. Despite the endorsement of The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd, star Essie Davis did not win the AACTA award for Best Actress; the honor went to Sarah Snook for her gender-bending turn in Predestination instead.