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So You’ve Decided to Fall at an Awards Show

We’re trying to help you! Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Celebrities: It’s Oscars season, and you’re ready to get out of the house after a slew of Zoom awards shows. But after many months of not wearing heels, you might be a little more prone to the embarrassing falls that live in awards-show infamy. The Academy will be using Los Angeles’ Union Station as a venue this year, so this unfamiliar territory could just trip you up. At a train station, you’ll have to be sure to watch your step and mind the gap, and that’s what we’re here for.

Vulture sat down with stuntwoman Amy Johnston (Deadpool, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Suicide Squad) to ask for her best advice about falling at awards shows — although, as she mentioned, stunt performers are not yet honored at the Oscars. So whether you’re a clumsy celebrity or just a clumsy person, follow these tips to ensure a smooth slip.

Don’t fall hands-first

Though it may seem counterintuitive, Johnston doesn’t recommend falling with your arms extended and hands out. “It’s actually called ‘foosh,’ and that’ll hyperextend your arm,” she said. “You could break your wrist.” Unfortunately, Jennifer Lawrence didn’t follow that advice while taking her iconic spill up the stairs while nabbing her Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook at the 2013 Oscars. Remember this for the future, J.Law — we know you’ve got a new Adam McKay film coming up.

Aim for the muscular parts of your body

Instead of falling with your arms extended, Johnston recommends aiming to fall on the meatiest part of your body — usually the thighs or bottom — to disperse the energy away from your bones. Katy Perry, falling not once, not twice, but four times while performing at the 2008 MTV Latin America Awards, tried to do this, but it seems like she was a little too caught up slipping in cake frosting. Eventually, she just crawled offstage in shame (a good backup plan).

If you’re falling backward, tuck your chin

This is something Madonna, performing “Living for Love” at the 2015 BRIT Awards, did not do. A dancer stepped on her cape, causing Madonna to tumble backward, resulting in a collective gasp from the entire United Kingdom and a couple seconds of awkward silence as the pop star fumbled back up. When this happens, Johnston said to tuck your chin to protect your head from injury. Luckily, it looks like Madonna fell on her thighs, following Tip No. 2. Nice job!

On stairs, try to roll with the momentum

No, this is not Jason Derulo at the Met Gala, or the Grammys, or the Oscars (though it seems like this picture goes viral on Twitter every single awards show). It’s actually an unnamed guest at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival who took an embarrassing fall and had to be saved by security. He’s actually doing the correct thing, though, according to Johnston: If you’re falling down the stairs, try to continue your momentum. “If you halt the momentum of your body in the wrong placement, that’s where injuries come from,” she said. “So try to relax your body — I know it sounds counterintuitive — or go into a roll.”


If you’re worried about falling in heels, consider doing some ankle exercises to strengthen up

We couldn’t end this without mentioning Jennifer Lawrence’s other fall, now could we? In the Better Times, a.k.a. 2013–2014, Lawrence really just couldn’t seem to stay vertical. She made a sequel to her Oscars fall the next year, tripping over a plastic cone on the red carpet and grabbing on to a friend for support. Johnston said if you’re wearing heels, consider doing some ankle exercises with a resistance band to improve your balance. “As stunt performers, we often have to wear heels during fight scenes, wire work, and jumping off buildings, so strengthening your ankles is important,” she said.

So You’ve Decided to Fall at an Awards Show