Stunts deserve Oscar recognition

An open letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences @TheAcademy #BestStuntsOscar #StuntOscar2015

The year has flown by, it’s Oscar time again and one important area in film-making is sadly lacking from the Academy Award categories. I’m talking about Stunts.

I find it puzzling that Stunt performing & co-ordinating is not recognized by the Academy. Stunt performing has a rich history in film. From the early days of rodeo stars in Westerns, the Chariot race in Ben Hur, the ski jump stunt in The Spy Who Loved Me, the creativity and power of Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon or the original choreography of Jackie Chan to more recent efforts in the fight sequences for Raid: The Redemption. It is both an art (choreographing a fight sequence that is both creative and looks great on film) and a science ( planning trajectories for high falls).

“In the old days stuntmen weren’t supposed to exist,” said Conrad Palmisano, who heads the Stuntman’s Association, the largest and oldest of the four groups. “Actors were supposed to be doing their own stunts. But today audiences are so sophisticated, they know that they’re doubling stars. There’s an old mind-set we’re trying to break free from.” (Source: NY Times 2005

I cannot stress this enough. It is no longer an illusion. Movie viewers know that when it appears Daniel Craig is flying through glass on a motorcycle it’s actually a stunt performer. We just sit and wonder how on earth they did it.

Co-ordinating stunt sequences so they are exciting, add to the story and are performed safely requires a great deal of skill. Stunt co-ordination is recognized at The Emmy’s so why not the Oscars?

The stunt community have been fighting for Oscar recognition for over 20 years. The first step towards recognition is to have an Academy Branch for Stunts. Interestingly, a branch for Casting Directors was added in 2013.

It’s time the movie-going public supports them. So let’s celebrate the very best stunt performers and stunt co-ordinators with a Stunts Branch and add Best Stunt Co-ordinator as a category at the 2015 Academy Awards. Let your voice be heard “Add Best Stunt Co-ordinator to the Academy Awards!” #BestStuntsOscar #StuntOscar2015

Tweet: @The Academy
Write: Board of Governors
The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211

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