Reebok Just Sent an Open Letter to the Academy Awards Asking for a New Award to Honor Fitness Trainers

A new Oscar for people who help actors get in fighting shape?

Reebok

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named a new academy president Tuesday night, cinematographer John Bailey. Today, less than 24 hours after the announcement, Reebok president Matt O’Toole released an open letter to Bailey asking that the academy honor the people who help actors get into fighting shape for the screen—namely, trainers.

“We believe we must honor the bodies we’ve been given,” O’Toole wrote. “And I’m asking you to honor those who help propel our favorite artists to fame and fortune along the way. There are hundreds of major motion picture actors and actresses that transform their bodies for roles each year. Fans cheer for them during thrilling stunt scenes and weep for them when their characters lose a pinnacle fight.”

He added: “While their performances are lauded, their practice is not. The best scenes and storylines today often require amazing physical transformations, and actors and actresses rely heavily on a small field of expert trainers to get them in fighting, flying and filming shape.”

O’Toole noted that the academy, which was founded in 1927, has honored Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the past 36 years and that the work those artists have done has “defined the standards of beauty for generations.” He also noted that sound mixers weren’t recognized until 1930.

“For a time, all these artists were also unrecognized,” O’Toole wrote. “Why not also reward the people who keep our role models in peak condition?”

Read the full letter below:

Mr. Bailey:

Congratulations on your recent election to President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Your accomplished career is a testament to the craft of cinematography and visual storytelling.

As someone who has worked behind the camera, you know the hard work, commitment and artistry that occurs even before the first camera rolls or scene is set.

Reebok understands that too. And we want to celebrate that work with a new Academy award category, Best Fitness Trainer.

We believe we must honor the bodies we’ve been given. And I’m asking you to honor those who help propel our favorite artists to fame and fortune along the way.

There are hundreds of major motion picture actors and actresses that transform their bodies for roles each year. Fans cheer for them during thrilling stunt scenes and weep for them when their characters lose a pinnacle fight.

While their performances are lauded, their practice is not. The best scenes and storylines today often require amazing physical transformations, and actors and actresses rely heavily on a small field of expert trainers to get them in fighting, flying and filming shape.

The Academy should celebrate the craft of fitness.

For the last 36 years the Academy has awarded Best Makeup and Hairstyling, which has defined the standards of beauty for generations. And the industry’s leading sound mixers have been recognized since 1930 for bringing emotion to even the quietest moments in cinema. For a time, all these artists were also unrecognized.

Why not also reward the people who keep our role models in peak condition?

These people often hail from outside the glitz of Hollywood. They’ve crafted their expertise on the playing field, in their garage gyms and even defending our country. Their diverse backgrounds mean they are not traditional movie heroes, but ask any motion picture star and they will tell you, these are the people who power the scenes and stories fans love so much.

Let’s call attention to this group and reward their hard work with the rigors of other motion picture crafts. No longer will these be the unsung heroes of summer blockbusters but instead role models for fans everywhere. 

Matt O’Toole
President, Reebok