Add Jon Bernthal’s name to the list of directors and actors who believe the Academy should give stunt performers their own Oscars category. Bernthal starred as Frank Castle/Punisher in Netflix’s Marvel drama series “The Punisher,” which ran for two seasons before being cancelled earlier this year. The comic book series made it clear to Bernthal just how instrumental the work of stunt performers is to a show or film’s success. In a recent interview with Men’s Health magazine (via CinemaBlend), Bernthal lobbied for the Academy to create an Oscar for stunt work.
“They’re my brothers, they’re the people I’m closest with on set. I think it’s absolutely a crime there’s not an Academy Award for stunt performers,” Bernthal said. “The stunt community, they’re the ones really putting it on the line. The creativity that comes out of the stunt community is mind-boggling.”
Bernthal continued, “I think nowadays, it’s one of the key reasons why people go and seek out entertainment, because of how good the stunts are, and there are people actually doing that. I train with those guys every day, I try to go in full-out. It’s kind of the mantra of a stunt guy, ‘Do it hard, do it once.’ Don’t pull a punch, because then you’re gonna have to do it 15 times. ‘Just hit me, and do it once.’ So we try to kind of live by that.”
In recent years, several high profile names in Hollywood have come forward to advocate for stunt performers getting their own Oscars category. Helen Mirren, who has starred in action films such as “Red” and “The Fate of the Furious,” said last April that stunt workers should be eligible for Oscars. “These guys are incredible and they’re so careful and so professional,” the Oscar winner said. “And they’re artists. They do amazing things.”
Following the Oscars’ Best Popular Film snafu last year, “Mission: Impossible” director Christopher McQuarrie spoke up to say that what the Academy should be prioritizing is recognition for stunt performers. “Those are people risking their lives and doing things that are absolutely and utterly truly amazing,” he said. “Not just in films like [‘Mission: Impossible’]. You go look at ‘Hell or High Water.’ ‘Lone Survivor.’ The stunts in that movie were absolutely incredible. In terms of a new category, I think you need to do that.”
Bernthal wrapped up his run in “The Punisher” in January. The actor can next be seen in “Ford v Ferrari,” in theaters November 15. Bernthal also has a role in next year’s “The Sopranos” prequel movie “The Many Saints of New York.”