The Holocron: Digital Oscars?
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was one of the better films this past summer and of the year. There is no doubt about that. Andy Serkis, the actor who portrayed the lead ape, Cesar, is a master at his craft of motion capture performance. We saw it as Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, again as King Kong, and now as Cesar. 20th Century Fox has decided to persue an Oscar campaign for Serkis for Best Supporting Actor, even though he never appears in the film as himself!
Andy Serkis is a master at what he does, but is it acting? Yes it is, but maybe not in the traditional sense. Is it Oscar worthy? Possibly, but again not in the traditional sense. We would be shocked if Serkis actually got the nomination. Cesar is amazing in the film, but it's the CGI that truly brings him to life on screen and makes you believe in his interactions with Humans and Apes. The performance is no doubt enhanced due to a fantastic motion capture performance by Andy Serkis, to give the actors and animators something extradordinary to work with. Without Serkis, perhaps Cesar does not come across on screen as good as he does. As for Oscar worthy though, not if he doesn't appear on screen. Now you may have your own opinion on that, and that is fine, that's what The Holocron is here for. We are also not saying that's Serkis isn't Oscar worthy in some form. To this writer, it seems an Oscar for Serkis may come one day as an honorary award for all the work he has done as a motion capture actor. Or perhaps it's time for digital Oscars. There's a category for digital effects, so why not one for digital motion capture performance. No one will argue that film's are in a different era of technology and presentation, than they were just 25 years ago. The age of digital effects have changed things so dramatically, that maybe the Oscars need to wake up and change with the times also.
The Academy won't recognize Serkis this year, and would be shocking if they gave him even a nomination. One day though Andy will be recognized for his amazing work on the films he has done, just not yet. Digital Oscar Awards may never happen either, since the Oscars are so steeped in tradition, but hopefully one day Andy Serkis is standing on the stage being recognized for the work he has given to some amazing films.