Jason Momoa is ‘bummed’ that action films are ‘not respected at the Oscars’

Actor Jason Momoa arrives at the World Premiere Of Apple TV+'s 'See' held at the Fox Village Theater on October 21, 2019 in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Jason Momoa was recently profiled by the NY Times as promotion for AppleTV’s See, Sweet Girl and Dune. I keep forgetting that Jason is in Dune, honestly, but he’s super-pumped about it and you can tell that he had the time of his life making Dune. Personally, I don’t think the NY Times gave Jason enough respect, but as always, he seems like a nice guy, a friendly guy and a guy who is basically a big puppy. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On the criticisms of superhero movies: “It’s like how people say that music is poppy and this music cool. But you know how hard it is just to get your music out there for people to hear? It’s all subjective. I try not to pick on anything. So, yeah, superhero movies are bubble gum, but they’re like Greek mythology: They have good and evil and heartbreaking moments. And, gosh, you’re taking away other art forms if you stop making them. You’re taking away visual effects, you’re taking away what you can do with makeup. I’m not someone who gets hired to play in a lot of cinema, but by being able to do a superhero movie, I can make a movie about something I really care about. I have a vision for the whole totality of “Aquaman.” There are environmental issues that I get to put into it. So while you’re going, “Oh yeah, it’s just this popcorn movie,” I’m like, “Well, I get to open people’s eyes to things that are important to me.”

On Dune: “You know what they need to do? They need to make the four-to-six hour version of the first half. It’s like, “Let’s watch the four-to-five-hour movie like a TV show; I can choose when I want to watch the whole thing.” I want to see Denis’s whole vision. I don’t want it to be trimmed.

On being an “action” film actor: “For a long time, my career was just doing action, and that was the way that I could express my characters. There’s a lot of physicality to my acting, and it’s different for each character. One thing which I kind of am bummed about is the respect action gets. People absolutely love it, and it’s not respected at the Oscars. It’s always kind of funny to me when you work with other actors and they’re fantastic, and then when you have to do something physical with them and they’re not good at it. It’s like, That’s your job.

On Game of Thrones’ depictions of sexual violence: “Well, it was important to depict Drogo and his style. You’re playing someone that’s like Genghis Khan. It was a really, really, really hard thing to do. But my job was to play something like that, and it’s not a nice thing, and it’s what that character was. It’s not my job to go, “Would I not do it?” I’ve never really been questioned about “Do you regret playing a role?” We’ll put it this way: I already did it. Not doing it again.

His end-note: “Yeah, and I wanted to bring something up that left a bad feeling in my stomach. When you brought up “Game of Thrones,” you brought up stuff about what’s happening with my character and would I do it again. I was bummed when you asked me that. It just feels icky — putting it upon me to remove something. As if an actor even had the choice to do that. We’re not really allowed to do anything. There are producers, there are writers, there are directors, and you don’t get to come in and be like, “I’m not going do that because this isn’t kosher right now and not right in the political climate.” That never happens. So it’s a question that feels icky. I just wanted you to know that.

[From The NY Times]

Yeah, even though Jason joked around when he was promoting Game of Thrones, that doesn’t mean that he actually likes depicting rape or intimate-partner violence or whatever. And it wasn’t up to him to change it – it was clearly “the vision” of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, not Jason Momoa. What I always liked about how Jason handled that is that it was clear that he (and other actors) went out of their way to look after and protect Emilia Clarke and make sure she was okay with everything they were depicting. Emilia and Jason are still close friends too, which says a lot about how much respect they have for each other and how they treated each other on GoT.

I think this is so true and so funny coming from Jason: “It’s always kind of funny to me when you work with other actors and they’re fantastic, and then when you have to do something physical with them and they’re not good at it. It’s like, That’s your job.” I would looooove to know who he’s talking about! There are tons of actors who are only good at “face acting” or screaming and crying. And then when it comes to anything physical or action-y, they’re just terrible.

Jason Momoa arrives at the Tom Ford: Autumn/W...

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, ‘Dune’ poster.

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28 Responses to “Jason Momoa is ‘bummed’ that action films are ‘not respected at the Oscars’”

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  1. Darla says:

    That question was so insulting, that’s a question for the power brokers. The writers, producers, showrunners…I am tired of sexual violence in film and tv myself, but it’s NOT the actors. They should ask the showrunners why Emilia Clarke wasn’t provided clothing between takes when shooting nude scenes. That’s a f’ing question I would like answered. It was Momoa who got her clothes, a lot of other actors would have enjoyed the degradation of a woman.

    As for his Aquaman role, they struck gold there, because he is passionate about the environment and polluted waters, and it’s so great how it ties into the role.

  2. harla says:

    I agree with Jason in that I too would like to see more respect for actions films during awards season. They tend to be my favorite genre of movie and not only do they have great special effects, choreography and often have relevant moral themes woven in but the work actors have to do to get their bodies ready is incredible and for me, rather inspiring.

    • Robyn says:

      Yes! And categories for the stunt folks please! They literally risk their damn lives to get the shot and the actors get the glory. These folks deserve recognition at this level.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I thought they had that category at the Oscars for stunt people. There are at least 2 award ceremonies for the Oscars that I’m sure of.
        One for the big names and another for all the rest of what goes into films.

    • CJ says:

      Fight choreography. How do things like that not get recognized

  3. Becks1 says:

    I LOVE that he called out the reporter for the question about the rape/violent scenes with Drago. It’s not like Jason Momoa liked having to do that or had any say over the plot so it’s insulting to ask him like he did.

    I like action movies. Some are more bubble gum than others, and can be pretty cheesy or over the top, and some are more well done, but if you enjoy it then you enjoy it. I don’t understand the gatekeeping around art in any form.

    That said, we could not get through the first 30 minutes of aqua man.

  4. Noki says:

    I actually think more serious award shows are eventually going to give in to takinf the action genre more seriously. Right now its just the costume designers and crew who get awards. But its tricky for actors like Jason and Vin Diesel because they will never see an Oscar no matter the genre. Other action stars like Matt Damon,Will Smith, Ben Affleck can atleast in fact Act.

  5. Mia4s says:

    Uhhh Jason? That’s Dune comment is not great. It’s supposed to be “Denis did a masterful job setting out the story and you should all go see it in the theaters! You’re not missing anything!”…Yikes.

    He seems nice. I used to really like him (less so once he took money from a certain Middle Eastern kingdom that imprisons women’s rights activists to attend and promote their film festival. *ahem* Hopefully he’s just an idiot and it was not deliberate). Also I think he’s not a great choice for the character he’s playing in Dune, other than being appropriately handsome. But I hope I’m wrong about that.

  6. detritus says:

    Why are they asking Momoa and not the producers who chose to depict things that way, or hell, even ask Martin why he felt it was necessary.

    Did Cranston even get asked why he portrayed trying to rape Skylar and was still able to be portrayed as the protagonist?

  7. faithmobile says:

    I love him so much and i’ve never seen one movie he is in. Action movies scare the crap out of me…but if I did watch one it would be for Jason Momoa. His compassion and emotional intelligence is so refreshing.

  8. FF says:

    Now that I think about it, how many interviews did DB Weiss and David Benioff ever have to do anyway? Those two totally got to dump their toxic mess and leave everybody else to deal with the fallout.

    I’m also glad that Jason called out that question. I mean just look at the crap Ray Fisher just went through calling out directors and producers on Justice League: even after being thoroughly vindicated WB still wiped him as Cyborg, his appearances in The Flash, and his solo movie. Actors have to throw themselves under a bus to call anything out and even when they’re right – PoC and women in particular – they get punished and blacklisted.

    That was yet another attempt to scapegoat (the actor) instead dealing with the problems embedded in the film industry. This is just like people whining about superhero movies/Marvel instead of seeing how their industry has been clamping down on any creativity and calling ot risk (usually because they have no comprehension on their film audience).

    • Jules says:

      nah, actors are just as much part of the film industry. let’s stop with the victimizing of everyone in every situation. this is how chrissy tiegen got away with so much for so long.

      • Robyn says:

        Ummmm what?

      • Jaded says:

        Actors generally don’t come up with the story lines, write the scripts or have much of a say in how scenes are filmed. They are directed, their job is to “act” so let’s not use Momoa as a punching bag here.

        Chrissy Tiegen is a has-been model/famewhore who lucked out marrying John Legend and has made a career out of sh*tting all over people via social media. She’s irrelevant to what’s being discussed here.

      • M says:

        Boo hoo for actors having it so tough in hollywood.

      • Amanda says:

        She got away with so much for so long because public bullying of young women for being or coming across as easy was seen as good then. Plus she occasionally dropped truth bombs about people even worse than her, like Trump. FF still has a point though. Not sure what Tiegen has to do with any of this.

      • FF says:

        @ Jules

        Actors basically have very little power when they’ve signed a contract. And when they speak out – or just tick the wrong person off they can be blacklisted.

        Nicole Beharie had this happen post Sleepy Hollow. Plenty of women had their careers killed by Moonves and Weinsten. Joss Whedon recently threatened to tank Gal Gadot’s career if she didn’t shoot the sexist and unnecessary scene he insisted on. I also mentioned Ray Fisher whose Cyborg film and appearances were wiped. How’s that manufacturing victimhood?

        And what’s this got to do with Chrissy Teigen?

        You seem to have two issues conflated. Actors being paid a lot doesn’t mean they should accept scapegoating when they try to,stand up for themselves or an issue.

        This is like people saying ScarJo shouldn’t sue Disney because she already got paid enough. Or Shonda Rhimes should have put up and shut up because she was getting “enough”.

        Not seeing why the people higher up in the chain who make the larger decisions and have most of the power get to avoid responsibility because “boo hoo actors”? This is how exploitative systems get to avoid needed change.

  9. Jane says:

    He was excellent in See, and I honestly can’t think of another actor who could have played that character with the kind of physicality that he brought to it that was absolutely crucial.

    I agree with him about action films – why aren’t stunt performers rewarded at the Oscars? And why aren’t motion capture performers and voice performers likewise rewarded? It’s all acting and necessary for the type of films that they appear in. And it’s no more collaborative a performance than an actor wearing a ton of make up or prosthetics and fabulous costumes and being lit well by a cinematographer and scored by a composer.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      The Oscars are such big money they’re terrified of making even the slightest change. The Emmys have TWO categories for stunt work; they honor casting directors; they have “awards of merit” that are juried (which could honor voiceover or motion capture) to honor all of the great work being done by individual artists (especially in animation) who wouldn’t be recognized otherwise. It’s not impossible to figure out.

      There are so many small things they could do to honor top-notch work that also happen to be popular movies people love and follow (and which would translate to a TV ratings boost).

    • North of Boston says:

      I loved what he said about the physicality of acting. It’s like people just lump all action movies or action oriented/physical characters together and don’t bother noticing that an actor is actually approaching each one differently, with a different expression of physicality that suits THAT particular character. He’s someone who the more I see of him, the more interesting he becomes. I’m not usually drawn to DC projects (they are often dark, grim and overly focused on miserable male characters, IMO, which isn’t my thing). But I may have to check out Aquaman

  10. Eurydice says:

    They keep trying hide the fact that they’re an industry. It’s all the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” when giving out awards and “14 year-old boys in Asia only like action movies” when making budget decisions.

  11. Rapunzel says:

    I too am interested in who wasn’t good at physicality. Maybe Nicole Kidman?

  12. teecee says:

    Oh please. All these crying superhero/action movie makers can stuff it. The money is your reward. Your fame and popularity is your reward. Stop whinging because there’s one distinction that your disposable popcorn flicks don’t normally get. It’s so freaking privileged.

    And yes, the Oscars (and other awards with better taste, like the Independent Spirits or the Critics Choice) don’t always get it right, and frequently get it wrong. But I don’t think the answer is to give some to the theme park people. They deserve it least of all.

    • yup says:


      These popcorn films are fun! But they’re not intellectually challenging and shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, and they shouldn’t try to compete with films that are outside their reach.

      I love McDonald’s, but I ain’t calling it gourmet food or sign petitions for them to have their own michelin star lmao

  13. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    It’s called People’s Choice or some other entertainment entity designed to wipe ass. I’m an action, scfi, fantasy, horror fan for all my life. Budget inequities in these films goes way back and excellence in writing an acting seem to fall lower on lists of importance (but we’ve gotten better over the years). The Oscars are determined by a group of crusty egomaniacs, so an action film could, in essence, take it as a compliment. Do they really want to walk the same stage as Shakespeare in Love? Being adored by millions of fans is far more exciting. And far more rewarding.

  14. Amanda says:

    Yum. He’s fine. He’s right too. People just need to keep that same reasonable energy with poc, females, and both when it comes to the movies, modeling gigs, music videos, and TV shows they do.

  15. Christine says:

    “Yeah, and I wanted to bring something up that left a bad feeling in my stomach…”

    Good for Jason. I love how he just shares all of the feelings he is having, and I get the feeling he doesn’t GAF if anyone doesn’t like it. Once again, Lisa Bonet is winning at the game called life, and so is he.