About 100 stunt performers, coordinators and supporters rallied Wednesday afternoon in front of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.
The group came together to protest the lack of an Oscar category for stunt coordinators and delivered an online petition signed by over 50,000 people, along with a dozen roses, to the Academy’s head of security, for Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
“[There is] a lack of understanding of the contribution of stunt coordinators,” Academy member Andy Armstrong, whose credits include The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor and Green Hornet, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We go on a movie very early. We conceptualize action. It shouldn’t be belittled by saying, ‘It’s just a guy who falls off a building.'”
The stunt community has attempted to get the Academy to create a stunt coordinator Oscar for decades. In 2011, the Academy considered the request and turned it down. The stunt community renewed its request the following year, to no avail.
In contrast, the SAG Awards added stunt ensemble awards in 2008 for film and television. This year’s winners were the stunt performers and coordinators from Mad Max: Fury Road and Game of Thrones.
“We’re kind of a minority group in terms of numbers,” said veteran stunt coordinator Conrad Palmisano, who is on the Academy’s committee. “There’s only one female stunt coordinator in the Academy.”
Amber Galloway, who started the petition two years ago, says they received 40,000 of the petition’s total 50,000 signatures in the last two weeks.
Also at the rally was Jane Austin, stuntwoman and SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer and Los Angeles local president. Austin says she was the one who got SAG to add stunt categories to the SAG Awards and that it took her three years to do so, but that she didn’t know why the Academy was resisting a similar move.
The Academy did not reply to a previous request for comment.