This Sunday, the 87th Academy Awards will be given out. Simply known now as "The Oscars," (Thanks to a re-branding back in 2013), the annual awards showcase some of the best of this year's films, actors, and other members of the film industry. While there are snubs, it is considered without a doubt to be the biggest night in the film industry and is seen by people all over the world.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (or The Academy for short) does recognize many different areas and not just the actors. From "Best Sound" to "Best Costumes" these technical awards are given to the hardworking members of the film industry. However, there is still a group of hardworking men and women left out of the big show despite their contributions to the film world.
Stunt performers are largely overlooked by The Academy. These unsung members of the film society work day-and-night to help coordinate and execute some of the most awe-inspiring scenes in film history. However when it comes to the industry's biggest night, they are left out. Why? There is no category.
Specifically, the stunt professionals are looking for a "Best Stunt Coordinator" category to be added. There are many stunt performers that work on a specific project (especially in the major blockbusters). By narrowing it down to the coordinators, an award would be given to an individual or a small group of nominees. This would eliminate any confusion that may occur on who should be nominated.
The push for this category has gone on for decades. Veteran stunt performer Jack Gill has spearheaded this campaign since the early '90s and has been a big force in attempting to get his colleagues the recognition they deserve. It was actually an interview with Mr. Gill that I came across years ago that was the inspiration behind the first time I wrote about this topic back in January of 2013 and again the following year.
There have been some strides over time, but the recognition has come from other award ceremonies. The Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs) recognize the "Best Stunt Ensemble" in both television and film (A category since 2007). In February 2005, they released a press release calling on the Academy to add the "Best Stunt Coordinator" category to the line-up. "Outstanding Stunt Coordination" is a category at the Primetime Emmy Awards and has been a category since 2002. So if these organizations are recognizing stunt performers, why can't the Academy?
For over a year I have worked off-and-on with a stuntman named Brady Romberg on various projects. Romberg saw the first article I wrote and reached out to me. I always knew that stunt performers work hard, but seeing it from a distance (we live on opposite coasts) reconfirms this fact. While some may say that the performers involved in the world of stunts know they are going to be in the shadows of the actors they double or coordinate, this same thing could be said for set designers, make-up artists, and so-on.
The truth is, all these people work hard and it takes many pieces of the puzzle in order to make movie magic. If the pieces don't fit, it could cost studios millions. I would urge the Board of Governors (and whoever else involved) to consider adding "Best Stunt Coordinator" to The Oscars. It is time that these hardworking men and women get the respect and recognition they deserve. Plus, the producers of the Oscars are always looking for ways to "spice things up." Personally, I think showing scenes of explosions, car chases or other awesome things that the stunt coordinators coordinate would do the trick.