I love action movies, and 2022 was one of the best years we’ve had in the genre in recent memory. While the Oscars routinely award action movies and the incredible amount of craft and dedication that goes into them, it gives no recognition for the stunt performers that literally put their bodies on the line for our entertainment, leaving that to the smaller SAG Awards ceremony.
Thankfully, the good people at Vulture have stepped up to fill the major void in action appreciation with their first edition of their Stunt Awards, a celebration of the best and brightest action movies (and action in movies) had to offer last year. It’s a very fun project, and one I was honored to be a part of. I can honestly say I’ve never had a tougher time filling out a ballot. It’s a credit to the people who organized this project, the other voters they brought in, and the sheer excellence on display in 2022 action cinema.
Here is the ballot I submitted for the project, along with the notes I submitted with my ballot. Be sure to check out the whole thing for the list of winners and commentary from the judges.
Best Stunt: Athena (The Opening)
All the nominees were incredibly impressive, but Athena gets my vote for the sheer amount of coordination necessary to make all the moving parts work in perfect cohesion. A stunner.
Best Stunt in a Non-Action Film: Jackass Forever (Knoxville vs. Bull)
Best Fight: Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday (Scott Adkins vs. Andy Long)
The best fight in a movie full of great ones, and a terrific example of showcasing both fighters’ incredible talents.
Best Shootout: Vikram (Vikram’s Giant Gun)
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. You feel the impact of every bullet.
Best Vehicular Stunt: Lost Bullet 2 (The Freeway Chase)
Nobody does car chases like David Julienne. The Lost Bullet series is unmatched.
Best Aerial Stunt: Top Gun: Maverick (Training Montage)
Was a no-brainer for me.
Best Practical Explosion: Lost Bullet 2 (The Electrified-Car Explosion)
One of those moments that makes you audibly go, “HELL YEAH!!!”
Best Overall Action Film: Top Gun: Maverick
There were action movies I liked more in 2022, but nothing beats the dedication that went into the aerial stunts in Maverick. My actual favorite action movie of the year is either RRR, Ambulance, or Athena, but we were asked to consider the stunt work first and foremost in this vote.
Best Achievement in Stunts Overall: Kevin LaRosa II
LaRosa II was the camera pilot and coordinator of the aerial unit of Top Gun: Maverick, staying consistent with how much the aerial scenes blew me away in that movie.