Jason Statham has made a name for himself in the film industry due to his high-adrenaline movies. As you’ve probably noticed through Statham's best action-packed films, he’s no stranger to playing characters who perform dangerous feats and throw fast-paced jabs at their enemies. Considering all of that, it should come as no surprise that the actor is a major advocate for stunt performers getting their due at the Oscars. -- and the star says he has James Bond to thank for that perspective.
Stunts still sadly overlooked at the Academy Awards, as there’s no category dedicated to the physical work performed in the best action movies despite the intricate and dangerous nature of it all. While promoting his buzzworthy bee thriller The Beekeeper at the Red Sea Film Festival, Jason Statham spoke to Variety about his connection with the 007 franchise and how it opened his eyes to stunt work:
I was a big fan of James Bond ever since I was a kid and the spectacle they provide in terms of the car chases and the big set pieces, skiing down the mountain and pulling the parachute. These are physical stunts that take people years and years to learn, and they are putting themselves at great risk for the good of the movie.
It truly is amazing to watch the James Bond movies, given the insane stunt work that keeps your heart racing and your eyes glued to the screen. If you take a look at the Bond franchise’s best action scenes, they're all just incredibly inventive, with the filmmakers expanding the scope with each passing installment. Whether it’s a chase that takes place on a tank, a scuffle on a moving train or a car chase on ice, the badass spy knows how to make spy work look so cool.
In all honesty, it's somewhat surprising that the Oscars have been around for over 90 years, and there’s still no category to recognize stunt performers. While talking about how action movies are undervalued during awards season, Jason Statham explained why stunt work deserves more recognition:
I think to not have something where they can get recognized is a massive oversight. They are incredibly talented. They work as hard as anyone I’ve ever come across within the industry. And I feel that they should have a moment. I think they are uniquely skilled and are part of some of the greatest, most exciting things we’ve ever seen in cinema.
The Crank star has never had any problem advocating for the men and women who risk their lives on sets to create successful action sequences. He once called them “unsung heroes” after a stuntman injured himself during Fast and Furious 9. It’s an unpredictable line of work that can that sees people risk their lives for their art. There have been battles in the past involving directors fighting for a Best Stunt category to be implemented, and the sentiment has also been conveyed using actual franchises. When a social media account for John Wick: Chapter 4 posted a brutal BTS video of a performer tumbling down escalator stairs, it was the franchise's way of raising awareness for the Oscars to recognize the hard work that went into this scene.
Earlier this year, John Wick director Chad Stahelski gave his opinion on the status of the Academy recognizing stunts, saying that the logistics of getting that in place are complicated. That's because a voting body would have to pick nominees from countless productions and from various performers around the world. On the bright side, Stahelski did mention that talks have been happening within the Academy to make this category happen. The chances of it happening at the upcoming ceremony in 2024 are probably slim at this point, but maybe it could happen by 2025 or 2026.
If anything though, it's just great that Jason Statham is also lending his voice to the chorus of people calling for stunt work recognition by the Oscars. Hopefully, that'll become a reality one day. While you wait for word on that, you can look forward to the British action star’s 2024 movie release, The Beekeeper, which hits theaters on January 12th.