John Wick’s Director and Its Star Are Advocating That the Academy Awards Add a Stunt Category

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Image: Lionsgate

John Wick‘s director, Chad Stahelski, and star, Keanu Reeves, want to honor stunts by getting a new category added to the Academy Awards. In an interview with IGN, the two stated their case, which honestly at a time of greater inclusion seems plausible, to honor something that nearly every movie has and is even often the staple for a majority of trailers to get people to go see a film. John Wick‘s director largely puts the blame of an absent stunt category on, to his knowledge, there never has been an actual dialog to get one added.

“Honestly, I’ve been around that for my 20-something-year career in stunts,” Stahelski told IGN. “And there’s a lot of, I don’t know, just this ethereal banter, this wives’ tale, of why stunts aren’t in the Oscars or why stunts should be in the Oscars. As far as I know, the talk has never happened.”

Stahelski suggests that the Academy could be receptive to the idea but said getting the conversation started is the first step.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the Academy or anybody outside the Academy that wouldn’t agree we’re one of the main nine departments. We are in every trailer. Obviously, it’s a massive department. It’s a huge creative thing. So has any journalist or stunt person ever walked up to the President of the Academy or a member of the Academy and go, ‘Why don’t stunts [get recognized]?’”

Reeves shared similar sentiments, “But what would it take for that to happen? I guess just more people would need to say, ‘Hey! You need to do this!’”

The Devil Is in the Details

Both also agree further details would need to be worked out since stunts require a team that includes a film’s director, stunt coordinators, creators, and not the least of which is the stunt performer(s). Deciding who an award should go to could get tricky.

“We all can agree it would be fair, but how do you do it? Who should get the award? The stunt coordinator or the fight coordinator? There are a lot of complexities that go with that,” Stahelski said. “Stunts are a very complex department. Who designs the stunts? Well, sometimes I do, and sometimes [Lana and Lilly] Wachowski, Steven Spielberg, and [Christopher] Nolan do. So is it the guy that designs the stunt or the performer that does the stunt? What if it’s a fight scene? Is it the guy that does one or the one who designs the whole thing, like the choreographer?”

Regardless of whom an award goes to fans of stunts are probably in agreement that recognition of stunts is long overdue. John Wick 4 opens in theaters on March 24 and an example of a trailer for it featuring fight stunts with the well-known star of martial arts films Donnie Yen can be seen here.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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