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Why isn’t there an Oscar category for stunts?

Stunt people have been campaigning for an annual stunt coordination Oscar for more than 30 years.
Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 06, 2023

Stunt coordination is one of the most essential aspects of filmmaking today.  

It was a necessary moment from "Everything Everywhere All at Once", "Top Gun Maverick" and even more scenes from "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" — which, coincidentally, is a movie about a stuntman. 

So, why isn't there an Oscar category for stunts? 

"All the different award ceremonies, they're starting to recognize us, you know, stuntmen and women, for the work that they do. It's just the Oscars themselves, they are very slow to change anything," said Steve Stafford, president of Studio Wings.

Steve Stafford is an aerial coordinator whose credits include action franchises like "Breaking Bad," "Criminal Minds" and "Mission Impossible." 

In 2019, the International Press Academyhonored Stafford with the Satellite Award for best stunt performance.

"I was very pleased and honored to get that. I wasn't expecting it at all, because motion picture pilots, stunt people, rarely get any recognition for what they do. These people are kind of unsung heroes," he said. 

For stunt people, recognition is more industry-focused than mainstream. Beyond the Satellite Awards. 

There are two creative arts Emmys for stunt coordination, a "stunts ensemble" honor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Taurus World Stunt Awards — a ceremony entirely dedicated to the craft. 

Stunt people have been campaigning for an annual stunt coordination Oscar for more than 30 years.  

Some say it's because there aren't enough stunt people in the academy to create the award, while others, like Stafford, argue that the academy is just slow to change. 

A reporter from Vulture even suggested "it may well be that many key members of the academy still subscribe to an old way of thinking — one that sees stunts not as art or a science but as a kind of infrastructural necessity." 

Whether or not that sentiment pervades the industry, Stafford argues stunt people are still a necessity that should be recognized. 

"They risk their life and limb to make the star look good. And most people go to see a movie, they think the actors are doing that when it's really just stunt people. We should really honor these people for the business they bring to the box office," Stafford said. 

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