Stunt Performers Rally For Inclusion At Oscars

David Robb

More than 100 stunt performers rallied today outside the film Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ offices in Beverly Hills to protest the lack of Oscar consideration for stunt coordinators.

Stunt Performers Oscar protest“It’s an insult to our profession,” said veteran stuntman and Academy member Conrad Palmisano. “We take the written page and breathe life into it. People love action; that’s why people go to the movies. No disrespect, but who goes to the movies to see the hairstyles?”

Stunt performers have been lobbying for Oscar recognition for 25 years. This year, they collected more than 50,000 signatures on a petition urging the Academy to honor them.

“It’s about inclusion,” said stuntwoman Julie Michaels. “We have so much diversity in stunts because we have to double all the actors in the business.”

The Academy has awarded Honorary or Technical Oscars to three stuntmen in the past: Hal Needham in 1987 and 2013, to Vic Armstrong in 2001 and Yakima Canutt in 1967.

Palmisano said he’s heard several reasons the Academy doesn’t give Oscars to stunt coordinators, the main one being that there are not enough stunt performers in the Academy — fewer than 20 — to form a category. “And without a category,” he said with a laugh, “you can’t be nominated. It’s a Catch-22.”

One solution, he said, is to “amend the rules to allow a smaller group to be considered a category.” Either that or allow more stuntmen and women in.

As for concerns that the televised awards show already  is too long, he said the stunt Oscars could be handed out with the technical awards. The Sci-Tech Oscars are handed out two weeks before the Academy Awards ceremony.

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