A Stuntman Oscar?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Pat Frank, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    Do stunt men and women deserve an Oscar?

    ABC ran a Nightline tonight about that subject, raising some interesting points. One suggestion was that Hollywood may be resistant to the idea because it takes away from the value of the stars (suggesting that they're not the reason why the movie was good). This idea seems perhaps valid in old Hollywood but might be a bit dated today, given the vast amount of interest today in how movies are made.

    Some other key points:
    - F/X guys get an Oscar. Why not the "real F/X" teams?
    - They've been asking for recognition since 1991
    - One reason why they aren't recognized is because they're not part of the Academy
    - Only one stunt man has ever been recognized with an honorary Oscar (Yakima Canutt)

    One thing I wondered is if they're sensitive to the issue of making the stars look bad, or stretching the Oscar telecast, why not just do the stunt award on technical night?
     
  2. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    I say they absolutely deserve it. They go out every day, literally risk life and limb, just to entertain us, and then they're told they don't deserve recognition? The design and coordination of a spectacular stunt is absolutely deserving of recognition.

    Sadly, it's probably too late now. Nowadays any spectacular stunt work is likely to be easily dismissed as computer created. But it is deserved.
     
  3. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    I think it is well deserved, especially in light of studios hiring the stuntmen/stuntwomen to take over the dangerous bits so the movie does not have to shut down to wait for the "star" to heal.

    I understand Jackie Chan is unhappy making movies in Hollywood, because they don't let him do his own stunts due to insurance concerns. Jackie would be a star likely to advocate the recognition of the stuntmen/stuntwomen considering how many times he has literally busted himself up to get something just right in his Hong Kong movies.
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    As much as I think stuntmen and women are deserving of awards and recognition, I'm not sure that the Oscars is the proper place for it. For the most part, the main ceremony awards creative achievements, whereas stuntwork is a more mechanical accomplishment, for lack of a better description.

    I'm pretty sure the stuntpeople have their own awards ceremony (there's clips of it in the recent and nifty documentary Double Dare), which has occasionally been televised. Maybe they could work something out with the Academy to have a broadcast of it be included in the Oscar package.
     
  5. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    http://www.worldstuntawards.com/

    I only know about that because Keanu Reeves won an honorary award for his work in the Matrix films (he did most of the stunts).
     
  6. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    Just to keep the discussion going....


    And yet we see awards given out that night for Sound Editing and Visual Effects, which are arguably more technical than creative.

    And it's hard to put stunt work entirely in the realm of the technical, don't you think? Isn't it at least as important HOW a stunt double does his job, as opposed to just "doing it"?

    Even when the actors do their own stunts, a coordinator has to train them on how to do the work, how to coordinate his or her actions with the other stunt people, and how to make it look good.

    That last part -- making it look good -- is really the crux of the creative argument that the stunt people are putting forward here.
     
  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I think the Visual Effects guys are generally at least partly involved in the design work. But, yeah, I think all of these job descriptions fall into a gray area between the televised Academy Awards, which lean toward the creative, and the technical awards.

    Make no mistake, I think the stuntpeople deserve a heck of a lot more recognition than they get, and I'd certainly be glad to see a "best stunt direction" category during the ceremony. I'm just not certain that's the best place to give these guys their due.
     
  8. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    I watched an award ceremony on television recently for Stunt People. I don't recall the name, but I assumed it was organized by their union.

    It was very much like the Oscars, with achievement awards and best movie stunt, best television stunt, etc.

    Am I the only one who saw this...? I don't think I imagined it...
     
  9. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    To call it technical, not creative, is to vastly misrepresent the totality of stuntwork. A great actor is technical when working his or her character. A director is technical in shot set up. But creativity exists in those realms...why not in stuntwork?

    Was Yuen Woo Ping not creative on the Matrix films?

    Was the stunt team on Raiders of the Lost Ark just technical?

    I find them as creative as anything else, and tend to believe their exclusion is either actor vanity or business.

    A shame,
    Chuck
     
  10. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    If I'm not mistaken stunt preparation often begins very early in a project. I hear all the time from actors who spend *months* physically preparing for a role, and we've all seen videos of actors doing stunt prep that looks an awful lot like choreography.

    Why not at least give these guys a nod on technical night?
     

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