We all love the Oscars. The celebrities, the red carpet looks, the joy of watching your favorite performers take home the gold – it’s a great time! Since the first Academy Awards in 1929, people have gathered around the TV every year to see which of their favorite actors will win a coveted Oscar. The show covers everything from the best actors and directors to the year’s most impressive screenplays. While The Academy might snub a more-than-deserving film or performance at times, the Oscars can be influential to the progression of one’s career in the industry. Unfortunately, fans have noticed a few categories that are ignored every ceremony – most notably, for stunts in cinema.
The world is arguably more familiar with movie stunts than the Oscars themselves. Actors and stunt doubles work hard on-set to show us what the human body is capable of, and it’s not uncommon for them to get hurt on the job for the sake of giving us a fantastic performance. Despite all their dedication, they will not walk away with an Academy Award; no stunt performer ever has. Indeed, it’s a crime that the Oscars do not even have a category dedicated to stunts yet, and thousands of petitioners seem to agree. Here’s why the Oscars need to add a Best Stunt category to their list of annual awards.
Are There Awards for Stunt Performers?
Currently, there are no awards given at the Oscars for stunt performers. Other award shows (like the Taurus World Stunt Awards) include this category, but the Academy Awards have gone almost a century without regard to the intense work performers put in when performing dangerous stunts. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has yet to give us an explanation as to why that is. They’ve certainly acknowledged that stunts are an important part of cinema; they’ve given out Humanitarian Awards and produced articles on the importance of stunt work and technology, so why not give out an Oscar? Given the prevalence of action and stunts with modern franchises such as the MCU, it’s odd that the Academy still has yet to add the Best Stunt category to the show.
There Are Stunt Scenes in Almost Every Genre
Stunts aren’t limited to action movies. You can look at any horror movie, rom-com, sci-fi flick or even a biopic and find stunt scenes scattered throughout the mix. Sure, grand combat sequences, fist-fights and death-defying leaps of faith are more cinematic by comparison, but stunt performers enhance movies of all genres with moves that push the human body to its limit. 1987’s Overboard is an adorable riches-to-rags love story that features several characters jumping off of boats into the ocean; Kane Hodder graced the Friday the 13th franchise with his dedication to the physically demanding role of Jason Voorhees. From combat scenes in Paths of Glory to racing through space stations in Interstellar, some of the greatest moments in silver screen history are owed to stunt work. You would notice if stunts suddenly disappeared from cinema – movies would seem more wooden, and the action genre would be all but nonexistent.
Stunt Artists Are Some Of The Hardest Workers
Stunt work is no joke! Anyone performing film stunts needs to be in good physical condition, and most performers require intense training before they’re able to partake in stunt scenes. Actors who perform their own stunts are putting in twice the work – they have to train for stunts, hone their acting skills and memorize lines for their entire role in the movie. Often, stunts and action scenes need to be re-shot multiple times to capture the perfect angle, which can be incredibly taxing on the body. These performers go above and beyond for hours a day, sometimes for the sake of a single scene. What’s more, a large portion of on-set injuries come from stunt work. This isn’t limited to film either; television and live stage productions include stunts as well. All this hard work and risk should not be going unnoticed.
The Whole Stunt Team is Underrepresented
It’s never just a single person in charge of stunt work. Most of the time, entire teams are dedicated to conceptualizing and bringing action sequences to life on film. In denying acknowledgment to stunts in movies, the Oscars are essentially ignoring all the effort of every single person that helps stunt performers pull off amazing feats. According to film analyst Stephen Follows, over 5,900 stunt performers worked in movies in 2016. There’s no telling how that number has changed in the past few years, but with the relentless popularity of the action and superhero genres, there’s a strong chance the number has skyrocketed. From stunt coordinators and safety regulators to the actors and stuntmen who carry out these intense scenes, film stunt teams are being excluded from what should be a highly inclusive celebration of cinema. Adding a category for stunts could change all that, and it might even incite the addition of more underrepresented categories in the ceremony.
It Makes Sense for the Current State of Film
As previously mentioned, action and superhero films are on an exponentially high rise. The MCU alone features 27 films as of 2022, and more are scheduled for production in the coming years. There are nine Fast and Furious movies, nine Star Wars films and more DC movies than you can keep track of – this isn’t even counting the thousands of other franchises and standalone features we’ve seen over the years. More action films mean there will be more action sequences, which, in turn, means more stunt work will be needed. The movie industry is likely to see a huge increase in stunt performers, and the Academy needs to recognize this continuously expanding aspect of cinema. In fact, this is the perfect time for the Oscars to introduce a stunt category – the motive is there and viewers have been petitioning for it to happen for years! By adding a Best Stunt category during this heyday of action-packed films, we can bring recognition to the stunt industry at its largest.
Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema are fast-tracking the animated feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim based on the works of JRR Tolkien.
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