Filmmaker Chad Stahelski is the most influential Hollywood action movie director working today, thanks in no small part to his groundbreaking work as a stunt coordinator on classic movies like The Matrix. During a recent chat with Discussing Film, Stahelski threw his weight behind the call for Hollywood to recognize stunt work at the Oscars.
"If wardrobe, hair, and makeup, certainly all the creative departments here are considered for Oscars, then yes, it makes perfect sense that the stunt department would be considered for an Oscar."
The debate over whether or not stuntmen should be given Oscars in recognition of the bodily risks they take to pull off the most daring scenes in the history of cinema has been raging on for years now. But Chad Stahelski points out that while Academy recognition would be nice, it is not the main motivator for why people enter the field of stunt work:
"Now on a personal level, being a former stuntman, second unit director, and all that stuff - for all the generations that were either before me, trained me, or current now - I don't know a single person in my 30 years of work that got into stunts to win an Oscar."
On their part, Oscar showrunners have been dragging their feet over having a separate category for stuntwork because of the struggle to define whether stunts can be considered a separate artistic achievement, or whether they should be lumped in with the rest of the camera, lighting, VFX, and audio crew that works under the orders of a movie's director to bring a script to life. For Stahelski, it all boils down to the awards recognizing the efforts of stuntmen in a professional capacity:
"I don't know any people, at the level they're at, that are going to stop what they're doing for a second just for an award or not. They're going to keep going. But you know, I think it would be nice. It shows recognition professionally. The stunt community in general, they're super professional. They're the best they've ever been in 50 years. And again, I think they should, but I don't think a single person I know needs that. And that says a great deal about their character. I'm very proud to know those people."
With more and more professionals and general audiences demanding a separate category for stuntmen, chances are we will soon see some form of awards reserved for stunt work at award shows in the near future. On his part, Stahelski has been keeping busy with a host of movies that he is either directing, producing, or coordinating action scenes for.
These include the upcoming John Wick movie, the next installment of The Matrix, and the Highlander reboot that has been in the works for some time now. The filmmaker/action director has promised in previous interviews that he plans to kick things up a notch in the action department with each new film, leaving fans eagerly waiting for the release of every entry on the list. This story originated at Discussing Films.