With the arrival of “John Wick: Chapter 4” on Blu-ray and DVD, director Chad Stahelski continues his press tour mission to get the Academy to create a new Oscar category honoring stunts. This was a central facet of the film’s theatrical press tour, and it has apparently paid off.
Talking with ComicBookMovie.com, the filmmaker behind the fourth action star starring Keanu Reeves stated that there have been serious talks within the Academy about the possibility of correcting this arguable mistake. While he noted that no one at the Academy had previously sat down and talked about it, that has changed in recent months.
“So over the last few months, we’ve met with members of the Academy and we’ve had these conversations and, to be honest, it’s just been incredibly positive, incredibly enlightening,” Stahelski said. “I think for the first time, we’ve made real progress in making this happen. I think it’s something that can happen as soon as, you know, the next Oscars, or at least the next one. At the latest, the next three or four years.”
Chadelski noted that one of the challenges, as TheWrap previously reported, was figuring out who would get gold status for any given film.
“Is it for the best trick? Is it the best choreography? The best action sequence? The best set of doubles? Does the specialist coordinator understand? Does the guy doing the gag get it? The martial arts choreographer? The fight choreography? Double action? The second unit director? The editor? Who gets the prize? These are all great questions that smart people on both sides need to talk about, the specialist community and the Academy.”
Regardless of how the process plays out, the filmmaker seemed confident that both sides of the conversation want Academy Award recognition for the stunts. “They want stunts at the Oscars. It’s going to happen,” he said.
“We want this to have an impact on the industry and the world, we want to do this with class, we want to do it right, we want to do it smart, and that just takes a little bit of time and the right people in the room talking,” he continued. Stahelski.
Spurring additional optimism, the Academy’s Board of Governors created the Manufacturing and Technology Branch, made up of 400 people who work in various key manufacturing and technical positions. Almost 100 of them are specialist coordinators.
The talk of a stunt category at the Oscars is not new. However, it has taken on renewed interest and urgency in the midst of a year packed with blockbusters that are partly sold on the notion of hands-on action sequences performed by professional stuntmen. Such a category would honor work on many of the same movies (with all due respect to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”) keeping cinema alive and well in the midst of a COVID era. recovery.
Of course, this category doesn’t have to automatically become “best action movie,” as non-action trappings and stunts can require just as much skill as conventional violence-fueled action scenes. But in the year when many of the biggest hits are blossoming specifically because of their practical magic, the conversation has turned to “if not now, when?” debate. If the director of “John Wick: Chapter 4” is to be believed, the right people are listening.