The Stephen King Movie Stephen King Thinks Should've Gotten A Best Actor Oscar Nomination

Does the Academy hate horror? "Hate" is probably a strong word, but it's not unfair to say the Academy has at least an aversion to the genre. With the notable exception of Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs," which swept the Oscars and won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, the Oscars tend to overlook or ignore horror movies altogether. For (recent) example: many people thought Toni Collette should've at least nabbed a nomination for her incredible work in Ari Aster's "Hereditary," but that didn't happen. 

Stephen King knows a thing or two about horror movies, especially since most of his books have been adapted to the screen. When it comes to King's movie adaptations, only one has achieved Oscar glory: "Misery," which earned Kathy Bates a Best Actress Oscar. But if King had his way, another one of his movies would've been recognized by the Academy, and it might not be one you expect: "1408," the 2007 horror flick from director Mikael Håfström adapted from King's short story of the same name. 

What is Stephen King's 1408 about

King originally wrote "1408" as an exercise for his non-fiction book "On Writing," and then expanded it into a real short story which was included in the collection "Everything's Eventual." Like one of King's most famous novels, "The Shining," "1408" deals with a haunted hotel. Or specifically, a haunted hotel room. The movie adaptation stays pretty true to the short story while also expanding it greatly. In the film, John Cusack is Mike Enslin, a writer who makes his living penning books about the supernatural. In a twist, however, we learn that Mike is not a believer — he may write about ghosts, but he definitely doesn't believe they exist. His skepticism is due, in part, to the death of his young daughter, who passed away from an unspecified illness. 

When "1408" begins, Mike is writing a book specifically about haunted hotels when he learns about room 1408, an allegedly haunted room in the posh New York hotel The Hotel Dolphin. Mike resolves to stay in the room to write about it, but he hits a roadblock: the hotel manager, Olin (played by Samuel L. Jackson) strongly advises Mike to not stay in the room. Mike, ever the skeptic, is not be deterred.

Sure enough, Mike spends the night in the room and slowly descends into madness, because it turns out the room really is haunted (bet you didn't see that one coming). I won't spoil what happens in the end, but just know there are multiple endings to the film. The theatrical ending is the weakest — stick with the superior director's cut ending, which you can find on the Blu-ray release.  

Stephen King thinks John Cusack deserved an Oscar for 1408

"1408" was a box office hit, and it's definitely one of the better Stephen King adaptations (especially the director's cut). And according to Stephen King, it should've earned some Oscar gold. Or, more specifically, if King had his way, John Cusack would've been recognized for his work in the film. In King's non-fiction book "Danse Macabre," the author states: "John Cusack gives a bravura performance as a cynical debunker of the supernatural who discovers there really is an invisible world out there, one full of horrors beyond imagining. As a one-man depiction of madness, it stands alone."

King goes on to add: 

"And Room 1408 in the fictional Dolphin Hotel is scarier than all the rooms of Stanley Kubrick's Overlook put together. In overlooking Cusack's performance, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences once more proved that great work is almost never rewarded if it's done in a horror movie. Kathy Bates in 'Misery' is the exception that proves the rule."

I don't know if I agree with King that Cusack should've earned an Oscar for his work in "1408," but he does deliver a pretty solid performance. Cusack's career has been on the wain in recent years, but I've always thought he was a talented guy when he finds the right role, and "1408" is definitely one of his better leading man performances.