“John Wick: Chapter 4” director Chad Stahelski is taking aim at the Academy Awards.
Stahelski, who helms the critically acclaimed “John Wick” franchise, addressed the debate of stunt work being included in Oscar categories by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. In fact, Stahelski argued that the Academy has never even “considered” recognizing stunts.
“What makes you think they’ve ever really considered it? Have you ever talked to anyone in the Academy about it, or talked to anyone in the stunt world who has talked to the Academy about this?” Stahelski told Deadline. “So you see the fundamental problem here. I think if I went to the Academy right now and asked, ‘Are there any of you who think stunts shouldn’t be in the Oscars? Could you find a single person?’ I don’t think so. So, OK. What seems to be the problem here? The problem is no one’s having the conversation.”
Stahelski continued, “I’m raising it right now with you and you’re gonna help me raise the question back to them. There’s not a single arguable reason not to have stunts in the Academy Awards. No one’s going to deny that we are at least equal to every other department. We’re part of every film, as much part of Hollywood lore as music, costumes, technical achievements, directing or cinematography. And none of the people in those departments will deny that. I just think we haven’t had the talk. I think there’s some challenges in it. The stunt department works very differently. Cinematographer is one person, same with costume designer and director.”
He added, “We are as a relevant as any department and I’m gonna be a little arrogant and say, I think we’d add a little something to the Oscars. It’s a legitimate win-win situation. No great stunt person or performer I know is doing it for accolades or statues. It doesn’t mean that much to us. But it is nice to be recognized by your peers. It’s time.”
The specifics behind stunt awards, though, make for a slight complication, as Stahelski noted, using “Chapter 4” as an example.
“Say we win the Oscar for Best Stunt,” he said. “I have Scott Rogers, he’s my supervising stunt coordinator, but he deals with the cars and the rigging and the safety. I have Jeremy Arenas, a choreographer that puts all these great moves together. I have three other riggers and three other choreographers and two assistant stunt coordinators. And I myself coordinate half and my editors put it all together…Which of the nine people who should get it? And what are you given the Oscar for?”
Stahelski said, “There is the great staircase fall for John Wick [Keanu Reeves], and a couple great car hits. There’s a great high fall out the window. But the effect of ‘John Wick’ is the overall action of the movie. So are you giving the award for best stunt or best stunt sequence, or best stunt constant? The stunt guys don’t know the answer. And I guarantee you the Academy doesn’t either. But I have faith that if all the smart people at the Academy and all our smart people sit down at a table, we can figure it out and make it happen. So I’m asking you to throw down the gauntlet to help make it happen. I am happy to be a representative for the stunt community among other great people in it, to sit down with the Academy and go, OK, we’re all on the same page. How do we do this? Let’s figure it out together.”