Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say“BLAARGH!”
Every year the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds a ceremony to honor the year’s best achievements in filmmaking, the Academy Awards, aka the Oscars. Since it’s inception in 1929, the number of awards given out has varied, but currently sits at twenty-four main awards, with several technical awards given earlier and a few honorary ones as well. But there’s one major ingredient in many films that is constantly overlooked by the Academy, and that’s stunt work.
Stunts are an integral part of many films today, yet the people behind them can’t receive recognition for the industry’s highest honor. Yes, other stunt-related awards exist, but the board of governors, the body responsible for deciding the award categories, has several times rejected the inclusion of an Oscar for Best Stunt, in 1999, 2005 & 2011. That’s a huge slap in the face to the many people who put their own bodies and lives on the line in for the sake of entertainment.
The main reason given for the award’s exclusion is usually along the lines of “The show’s already too long.” Yes, that’s true. So why not cut out some of the other pointless bits such as montages that have nothing to do with anything or musical tributes to the concession stand? The 2012 show was particularly annoying. Not only did they omit the traditional performances of the nominated songs (of which there were only two that year instead of the usual five, mind you), but viewers were “treated” to a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Hey Academy. If I want to see Cirque du Soleil, I’ll freakin’ go see Cirque du Soleil. That crap had no business wasting time on the show when you couldn’t even honor hard-working stunt performers, let alone having a performance by the Muppets. And that “The show’s too long” defense didn’t seen to mean much when you added the (very well deserved) Oscar for animated feature in 2001, or the times when you trot out every living Oscar recipient for acting in a big group shot that usually waste a good 15+ minutes.
As I mentioned before, this isn’t a new thing. Veteran stuntman Jack Gill has petitioned the board of governors several times for the award’s inclusion. Every time he’s been turned down, despite support from such film juggernauts like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, who all recognize the importance stunt work plays in feature films. What’s it going to take for these people to wake up and realize there are people out there literally dying for their art? That they deserve just as much recognition as the sound editors and costume designers, even the directors and actors? Hopefully once some new blood makes it’s way in this will be rectified. Until then, this will still be a major issue for not only me, but some awesomely talented people as well.