wsmr blog

Pulling a stunt

I was watching the glad-handing girlie Superbowl that has become the Oscars the other night (The Artist won Best Pic) and I was struck again by a pretty glaring absence in the lineup. While I watched all the usual suspects jump up to grab their 13 inches of gold-plated Academy cock, it had me wondering again, “Why the hell is there no award for Best Stunts in a motion picture?”

This has gotta change.

Like tits and ass, stunts add a tremendous level to our enjoyment of the movies. From Buster Keaton to Jackie Chan performing their own stunts, to legends like Dar Robinson and Vic Armstrong filling in for some of our favorite actors; these guys literally risk their goddamn necks to take us one step closer to being in the movies. And if you are saying to yourself “I don’t even know who Dar Robinson and Vic Armstrong are” that’s because THEY DON’T GET ENOUGH FUCKING CREDIT. They deserve an Oscar. Or at least the chance to compete for one.

Literally risking their goddamn necks!

Yeah, I realize that we might not need stunts in every movie like we might need actors, directors, and producers, but just because it isn’t essential to all films, doesn’t mean that a whole industry should be ignored by the Academy. Hell, we didn’t need to see Halle Barry’s boobs in Monster’s Ball either, but she still won the Oscar for Best Actress that year.

I’d argue that there a lot of “non-essential” categories that get awarded Oscars. Visual effects for one. They were making great movies for years before any sort of computer starting messing things up. And they still get an Oscar. Because when it comes down to it, they help us enjoy the story and they should be recognized.

I mean, shit, not every movie needs top notch costume design either. There are probably plenty of low budget, critically acclaimed indie movies that used most of the performer’s own wardrobes. Some movies nowadays are being shot in one take. And this year’s Best Picture Winner was a silent movie. A SILENT FUCKING MOVIE, I say again, loudly, in all caps. I am shouting through the computer screen because it helps to illustrate that every movie has its own specific needs.

And many of them need stunts. Just because not every movie needs them is not a strong enough argument for denying them their shot. Just because we didn't need a stunt coordinator in the latest version of Pride & Prejudice* is no reason to overlook an entire group of artists who, at their best, make us rub our eyes in disbelieving awe at the power of the movies.

Tell me that Terry Leonard at the 4:50 mark of this truckload of awesome doesn’t deserve to go home with some hardware.

I even read someplace that the Academy Awards Producers don’t want to add another award to their list because they are trying to be conscious of how long the show runs every year. What?! To paraphrase Jack Nicholson from The Shining, “Are you out of your fucking mind Oscar?” That makes about as much sense as a David Lynch adaptation of Naked Lunch – only way less awesome. Worried about the show running long? Here’s a suggestion, take out all the “retards in leotards” dance numbers, cut the canned theater bullshit, and keep the host’s opening monologue short and sweet. Stop trying to be funny. Stop it. I don’t watch the show to laugh. Stop it. I have seen some of the funniest people in the biz bomb the Oscars like the opening shot of Apocalypse Now. Stop trying to be funny and focus and what makes the movies that you are honoring cool. With clips from the actual movies.

Because how much more awesome would watching the Academy Awards be if they had a category where we got to watch clips of the best stunts from the year?

At the very least it would help to balance the narcolepsy inducing clips of the award for “Best period piece usually featuring some-kind-of-royalty in a movie no one has usually seen” AKA, “Best Costume Design”.

Fire Ball

Swamp Thing


Get fired up people! Shit like this deserves your recognition!

A quick look online will show you that stunt performers do get honored each year at the Taurus World Stunt Awards. And I’m sure that they are so awesome that merely glancing at them on your computer screen will cause your girlfriend to get pregnant and birth full bearded Viking children. Shit, bringing home one of those is cooler in some ways than bringing home an Oscar because the people that vote for the Taurus awards are probably WAY more knowledgeable than most Academy voters. But to lock the stuntmen (and women) out of the Big Show is just a disgrace. They’re a big part of the movies and deserve to be recognized.

*And guess the fuck what? The latest version of Pride & Prejudice did have a stunt coordinator: Alessandro Novelli

--Mick Finnegan