The 2020 Emmy Awards will be an interesting affair, given the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the show will go on, even if in a new format, and Emmys for Outstanding Stunt Coordination will be awarded in two categories, drama and comedy.
Heading up the five nominees in the drama category is legendary stunt designer Hiro Koda. He has been nominated this year for Netflix’s Stranger Things, his sixth Emmy nomination overall. He won in 2013, for Supah Ninjas. He is also the stunt coordinator for Cobra Kai, and has been nominated twice for that show. Basically, nobody can make kids fight like this guy.
The Mandalorian’s Ryan Watson has been nominated for the second time. (He won two years ago for set decoration on Glow—a true jack of all trades.) Given the show’s all-star fighting cast, in particular Gina Carano, Watson had a lot to work with before even getting to the stunt doubles.
S.W.A.T. (Charlie Brewer, Austin Brewer), the often-nominated Blacklist (Cort L. Hessler III), and The Rookie (David Rowden Sr.) round out the drama category.
Leading the pack on the comedy side of the equation is Norman Howell from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Howell has been nominated nine times, with six of those Emmy nods coming for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the first two of those noms turning into wins. Brooklyn Nine-Nine recently made news for scraping all of their scripts for season eight in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests. The show will be headed in a new, as yet unknown direction.
Eddie Perez received his fourth nomination for Shameless. The veteran of the stunt world has won twice for Showtime’s longest running show. Perez got his start in La Bamba (1987), and became the first Hispanic to be nominated and to win a stunt Emmy.
Space Force (Eric Skolky), Ballers (Jeff Barnett), and Henry Danger (Vince Deadrick, Jr.) round out the comedy nominations.
With both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards failing to recognize stunt coordinators, the Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination is likely the highest profile award in the industry, although the SAG Awards also recognize stunt performers.
The stunt community created its own award show back in 2001, with the inception of the Taurus World Stunt Awards. Although the stunt community is notoriously close-mouthed about injuries on set, part of the function the Taurus Awards is to raise money for injured stunt workers. While film sets have increasingly focused on safety, this incomplete list of stunt-related deaths clearly illustrates just how dangerous it is to be a stunt performer.