Helen Mirren stunt

Helen Mirren is out here stumping for stunt performers – and rightfully so. The Academy Award-winning actress, who’s appeared in a handful of action films over the past few years, is using her platform to draw attention to the fact that is the year 2018 and somehow, there still is not an Oscars category devoted to the hard work of an entire Hollywood community. Hey Academy, here’s a bit of free advice: when Dame Helen Mirren speaks, you should probably listen. Read the Helen Mirren stunt comments below.

In an interview with Female First (via Indiewire), Mirren – who has credits in movies like Red, Red 2, and The Fate of the Furious – joked about how she wiggled her way into those roles in the first place – good old fashioned begging:

“I begged. I put it out there and then I begged. That was one of the wonderful advantages of winning an Oscar. I got to be in action movies! Because they love having Oscar winners in their action movies. They want to bring you down.”

Far more importantly, though, the Oscar-winner gave her thoughts about how stunt people are underrepresented during awards season:

“They’re extraordinary, these special effects guys and stunt guys. To watch those craftsmen at work…There really should be an Oscar for stunt work. These guys are incredible and they’re so careful and so professional. And they’re artists. They do amazing things.”

As Usual, Helen Mirren is Right

It’s nothing short of baffling that there still isn’t an Oscar category devoted to honoring the amazing stunt performers who risk life and limb to take movies to the next level. And to be clear, this complaint isn’t new – those in the industry have been fighting for legitimacy for a long, long time. In 2016, when a group of stunt performers protested the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because they were being ignored, stuntman and Academy member Conrad Palmisano said:

“It’s an insult to our profession. 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?”

Palmisano has a point: one glance at box office receipts proves that audiences continue to show up to action films in huge numbers. But because there are fewer than 20 stunt performers in the Academy, the organization’s rules say they don’t have to recognize them in their own category.

Once considered a monolithic institution, the Academy has made significant strides in the past few years when it comes to inclusion and diversity, changing the makeup of its membership and opening the door for more voices to be able to have a say. Now they need to take the next step and start letting more stunt people in so they can at least have enough people to form a damn category. They’ve earned that much.

If more high-profile celebrities like Mirren start using their platforms to raise this issue, maybe the Academy will finally start paying attention and give these stunt people the recognition they’ve long deserved.

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