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Stunt Oscars Swing At Air

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Rejecting a request from a coalition of Hollywood stunt performers, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said June 22 that it will not create an Academy Award category to honor stunt performers. The Academy's board of governors voted last week to reject the proposal submitted by Stunts Unlimited to create a new category.

"At a time when the Academy is trying to find ways to reduce the numbers of statuettes given out and looks at categories with an eye more focused on reduction than addition," Academy President Frank Pierson said, "the board is simply not prepared to institute any new annual awards categories."

The last time a new category was added by the board was in 2000, when the Best Animated Feature Film award was created.

Earlier this month stunt coordinators staged a rally outside the Academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills to press their case and publicize support from such filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer and Robert De Niro.

"After 15 years, I'm pretty used to hearing it," Jack Gill, a past president of Stunts Unlimited and the leader of this drive, said in response to the Academy ruling. "I just find it unbelievable that they don't see our position." Gill vowed to appeal the decision immediately by requesting that the Academy's board give the stunt coordinators a chance to make their case. "I want to try to get a meeting together so we can come in and speak to the board of governors ourselves and say, 'This is why we merit a category,'" he said. "It's not being conveyed properly; that's all I can think."

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