Conversations about a stunt coordination award have been happening for years, but they seem to be mostly one-sided. With decades of requests for stunt workers’ inclusion ignored, Stahelski’s proposal that the Academy meet with him and his peers certainly feels like, as he says, a gauntlet being thrown. I hope it’s a challenge the AMPAS will accept.
As for the case for stunts’ inclusion? Well, that’s something Stahelski explains succinctly to Deadline. “There’s not a single arguable reason not to have stunts in the Academy Awards,” he says. “No one’s gonna deny that we are at least equal to every other department. We’re part of every film, as much part of Hollywood lore as music, costumes, technical achievements, directing, or cinematography.”
Stahelski’s conversation also raises a few potential obstacles to stunts’ inclusion in the Oscars, all of which seem navigable. Stunt teams would have to pick a representative to win the award, a problem countless other film departments already solve each year. The award might also shatter the illusion that big-name actors perform their own stunts, Deadline points out. The category rejection in 2005 also indicates that at some points in the past, the Academy may have viewed this as a time or resource issue. Blanket rejections of any new category seem to me to be a response to perpetual worries about the telecast’s bloated runtime.
But one category won’t push the Oscars over into unwatchable territory, and the Academy’s recognition of stunts may even make the telecasts more exciting. “I think we’d add a little something to the Oscars,” Stahelski says. “It’s a legitimate win-win situation.” While he acknowledges that great stunt actors don’t work with prizes in mind, he acknowledges that the recognition would be nice. “It’s time,” Stahelski says plainly. We couldn’t agree more.