Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ark. stunt pioneer Hal Needham gets honorary Oscar

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

If you were paying attention while watching the Oscars last night, you might have heard that Arkansas-raised stuntman Hal Needham was one of those who received an honorary Academy Award this year. Before his retirement, Needham was a pioneer in the stunt industry, developing many techniques for making stunts more dramatic and safer, including the development of the high-fall airbag. As pointed out by Quentin Tarantino when he introduced Needham at the Governors Awards back in December, Needham is only the second stunt performer/stunt coordinator in history to receive an Oscar.

Born a dirt-poor sharecropper's son, Needham parlayed a stint as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and work as a tree trimmer into a career as a stuntman and filmmaker, directing screwball, fast-car cult classics like "Smokey and the Bandit," "Hooper," and "Cannonball Run." We talked to him at length just prior to his appearance at the Little Rock Film Festival in 2011. You can read the extensive Q&A here.

When we asked him why he thinks there is an Academy Award category for almost every facet of film making except stunts, Needham said he's glad they don't give out Oscars in his line of work, and gave an excellent answer why:

"My belief is, when a person goes in and pays his money to see a movie, and he sees his hero up there doing something spectacular, you don't want him to stop and think: 'I wonder if that's the star, or if it's a stuntman?' You want them to enjoy the movie. I think stuntmen should take their check and go on their way."

Seen above is video of Needham's emotional speech on accepting his Oscar. "You're looking at the luckiest man alive," Needham told the crowd, "and lucky to be alive."

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • Walmart drops support of ALEC

    Add Walmart to the growing list of major corporations that have decided to drop financial support of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a thinly veiled corporate lobby that stocks compliant state legislators, usually Republican, with cookie cutter bills to advance the corporate agenda.
    • May 31, 2012
  • Tim Griffin and other House Republicans call for slashes in environmental protection programs

    U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has been caught in a bit of a pickle. He ran for election in 2012 almost solely on the wonders of building a big Canadian tar sands pipeline through the heart of America, right through a sensitive Nebraska aquifer.
    • Jul 23, 2013
  • Tim Griffin brings liar to town to campaign UPDATE

    It's not exactly surprising that U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, not known for candor or truthfulness, would bring a bodacious liar to town to endorse his candidacy.
    • Jun 11, 2012

People who saved…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • ASU quarterback says someone killed his dog

    Arkansas State University Quarterback Fredi Knighten posted a photo recently on the Internet that said his dog had been stolen and killed, then returned to him. ASU thinks the episode is unrelated to the university or football.
  • Arkansas auditor finds friendlier court for $160 million U.S. savings bond claim

    State Auditor Andrea Lea this week found a friendlier court for her claim to take state possessionof perhaps $160 million in unclaimed U.S. savings bonds for the state's benefit.
  • Task force appears set to move forward with tweaked private option; battle looms over managed care

    The Health Reform Task Force had its penultimate meeting today; by law, it must issue a report with recommendations by the end of this year. All indications are that the task force will recommend continuing the private option with a few GOP-friendly tweaks. The governor will be negotiating with the federal government on just what shape the private option (perhaps with a snappy new name) will take in 2017 and beyond, once the state's current agreement with the feds comes to an end. The once hotly controversial issue has been fairly muted in task force discussions. The fireworks, instead, have come with how to handle the rest of the Medicaid program, with the state's consultant, the Stephen Group, suggesting that the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars by moving to managed care.
  • Tuesday's open line and news roundup

    Here's the open line and news roundup.

Most Recent Comments



© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation