There’s a fine art to filmmaking. A suspension of disbelief that must be established in order to entertain while leaving viewers engaged. Accepting what’s happening on screen as a genuine window to another world is paramount. There are individuals that have made careers keeping the veil over our eyes. Make us forget that we aren’t seeing our favourite actors or actresses in peril. Yet, they aren’t being recognized them for their place in Hollywood. No, not CGI/SFX crews, stunt professionals.
Time To Evolve
This isn’t the first time stunt workers have tried to make noise on the matter. Back in 2016, a group of stunt performers rallied outside of the Oscars. However, Helen Mirren, in all her wisdom, has added some star-credentials to the conversation and is hoping to see a change soon.
One of the bigger issues is that Hollywood still holds itself on a pedestal. Many of the top echelon rarely see outside of their worldview and ignore things they don’t fully understand. It’s partially why Netflix and other SVOD services are being looked down on as a legitimate home for the award-worthy film. There’s an elitist culture that still rules the top 1%. It’s difficult for the 20 or so Academy-member stunt performers to make enough noise. The rest of the Academy doesn’t see that as enough to legitimize an entire category.
On What Merits?
The question of how to award this category remains, however. No category at the televised event, or the untelevised technical awards for that matter, contribute to so little of what viewers see in a film’s runtime. Is the award for a single stunt? Is it for a stunt performer’s entire year of work, regardless of how many projects that entail? Much of what goes into a believable stunt’s execution is the camera work and choreography, though the individual talent and ability is a must. Not to mention actors like Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson or Keanu Reeves, who increasingly do their own stuntwork. Should they be up for awards in the category as well?
The “In Memorium” segment recognizes the passing of any stunt performer in the industry. It’s clear that The Academy recognizes these performers in some form. This issue isn’t new and isn’t going away. Stunt performers have a storied history in Hollywood. They have aided filmmakers in realizing their vision. Audiences sit on seat’s edge as their hero barely dodges death. They celebrate when the antagonist is thrown from the top of a building. The Academy needs to recognize the contributions of this hard-working group while they’re still alive and ready to entertain again.