Bringing Stunts To The Oscars
By Matt Chieco
The Oscar for best stunts goes to…oh wait there isn’t one!
In the 92 year history of the Academy Awards, categories have come and gone but ever since 2001 with the introduction of Best Animated Feature, the award show has not been accepting of change.
The Oscars most recently proposed a new category back in 2018 called Best Popular Film. Many criticized the category claiming that it was intended for more blockbuster films to be recognized, therefore attracting a more mainstream audience and increasing the ratings. Ultimately the category was postponed and was said to be reevaluated. The next step for the academy isn't to cheapen their legacy just for viewership, but to create a category that honors something used in all genres. Stunt coordination has been fighting to get recognized for over 20 years.
Sidney Lumet, director of Network, Dog Day Afternoon, and 12 Angry Men (just to name a few), has been very vocal on making sure stunt work gets the recognition they deserve since 1991. Since then we’ve been admiring the insane car chases of the Fast & Furious series, living in the comic book worlds of both the MCU and the DC Extended Universe, and watching the death defining stunts highlighted in the Mission Impossible franchise. If the academy was waiting for a good time to introduce this category, now is that time. They wouldn’t be the first award show to add the category to their roster. The Screen Actors Guild has had Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture since 2007.
As the stunt community has grown in popularity over the years, so has many individuals in that field. One of those individuals being Chad Stahelski, the man behind the John Wick movies recently gave his opinion on the matter.
"If wardrobe, hair, and makeup, certainly all the creative departments here are considered for Oscars, then yes, it makes perfect sense that the stunt department would be considered for an Oscar."
Now I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want action movies being introduced to the Oscars and flooding the nominations. Action films aren’t the only movies with stunt coordination, just last year Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Ford v Ferrari, Joker, and The Irishman have all been nominated for multiple Oscars and have relied on stunt coronation to make their movies the best it could be.
The 93rd Academy Awards is airing April 25, 2021 on ABC.