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SYFY WIRE stunts

'John Wick' director Chad Stahelski thinks stunt work should be recognized at the Oscars

How is this not a thing?!

By Josh Weiss
John Wick 4 (2023)

For close to a century, the Academy Awards have recognized the most groundbreaking achievements throughout the world of cinema. What's more: the annual ceremony has done its best to evolve with the times, adding in additional categories for animation and visual effects as directors and craftsmen dare to venture into unexplored territory.

So why then isn't stunt work — a facet of the industry as old as the medium of film itself — celebrated at the Oscars? It's a good question, one that keeps many stunt professionals awake at night...and just the slightest bit pissed off.

"I think it is absolutely ridiculous of the Academy not to recognize us," director Chad Stahelski proclaimed during an interview with Empire for the magazine's June 2023 issue (now on sale). Stahelski, who has helmed all of the John Wick films to date, got his start in the industry as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, famously working as a stand-in for Keanu Reeves on the original Matrix trilogy. "You won't find anybody arguing against having stunts win an Oscar."

RELATED: 'John Wick' editor talks 'Chapter 4' pacing and the 'special 3-hour edition' made just for Keanu

Jack Gill (a veteran stunt coordinator whose most recent efforts include The Gray Man, Murder Mystery 2, and Fast X) has been trying to rectify the situation for over three decades, lobbying influential producers for support and offering set visits to studio executives. So far, though, his carefully coordinated efforts to establish a stunt category have been in vain.

"A small portion of it is snobbery," he explained. "The bigger issue is that they don't want the action industry to overshadow all of the dramas and the acting pieces that they form their entire Academy ideas around ... They just don't think it gels with their show."

Success wouldn't just mean recognition for the labor-intensive (and sometimes dangerous) work undertaken by stunt crews, but it would also lay the groundwork for better opportunities. "Look at the number of careers we could change. The amount of doors we could open," Gill concluded. "I won't give up because I think we truly do belong there."

Fast X arrives on the big screen Friday, May 19 by way of Universal Pictures. Click here to pick up tickets.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is now playing in theaters everywhere. Click here for tickets. If you're not caught up on the story yet, head over to Peacock for the first three John Wick movies. The Continental, a limited series about the origins of the hotel at the center of the franchise premieres on the service in September.