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Bringing Stunts to the Oscars

By Matt Chieco

The Oscar for Best Stunts goes to... oh wait, there isn't one!

Throughout its 92-year history, the Academy Awards has witnessed the introduction and removal of various categories. However, since the inception of Best Animated Feature in 2001, the award show has shown resistance to change.

In 2018, the Oscars proposed a new category called Best Popular Film. Many critics viewed this category as an attempt to recognize blockbuster films, aiming to attract a wider audience and boost ratings. However, due to the criticisms, the category was postponed for reevaluation.

The Academy's next move should not compromise its legacy for the sake of viewership; instead, it should create a category that acknowledges an essential aspect present in all genres—stunt coordination, an element that has been vying for recognition for over two decades.

Sidney Lumet, the director behind acclaimed films like 'Network,' 'Dog Day Afternoon,' and '12 Angry Men,' has championed the cause of recognizing stunt work since 1991. Over the years, we've marveled at the exhilarating car chases in the 'Fast & Furious' series, immersed ourselves in the comic book realms of the MCU and DCEU, and witnessed death-defying stunts in the 'Mission Impossible' franchise. If there was ever a fitting moment for the Academy to introduce this category, it's now. They wouldn't be the first; the Screen Actors Guild has had 'Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture' since 2007.

As the stunt community's popularity has grown, so have the individuals in that field. Chad Stahelski, the creative force behind the 'John Wick' movies, recently voiced 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, you might be concerned about action movies swarming the Oscars and dominating nominations. However, action films aren't the sole domain of stunt coordination. Last year, movies like 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Joker,' and 'The Irishman,' which received multiple Oscar nominations, relied on stunt coordination to elevate their storytelling.

The 93rd Academy Awards are scheduled to air on April 25, 2021, on ABC.

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