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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Should Andy Serkis be nominated for an Oscar?

Aug. 9, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES hit theaters this weekend with a stronger-than-expected $54 Million opening, thanks in no small part to the stellar word of mouth the film is already raking up. Currently, the Cinema Score is sitting around A-, which is striking, as most blockbusters even out around “B”, and this rating suggests word-of-mouth will continue to be strong, and that the inevitable second weekend drop-off may be minor.

What’s interesting about the reception RISE has received is that, audiences aren’t the only ones enjoying it. The mainstream critical press has also embraced the film, with it sitting around 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is far beyond what anyone was expecting based on the early buzz.


Most importantly, this critical acclaim gives Andy Serkis, who “performed” the role of Caesar the ape through motion-capture, a legitimate chance at an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in January. Early Oscar handicappers are calling him a lock, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Academy will be accepting of a role that’s mostly non-verbal, and would have had no chance of succeeding if the CGI artists at Weta Digital had not been at the top of their game. It’s also worth asking whether or not the academy is entirely aware of how much Serkis’ performance actually influenced Caesar. Comparing them side-by-side, it’s striking to see how closely Caesar represents Serkis, and one wonders whether he’d have a better shot at a nomination if make-up and prosthetics had been used as in the original series, or Tim Burton’s 2001 film.


Personally, I’d like to see Serkis get the nomination, but I truly feel that if he did, it should be shared with the key animators at Weta, as the role is truly a partnership between him and Weta. This is not to meant to be a slight to Serkis, as he’s wonderful in the part. Truly, he’s the Lon Chaney of the digital age, with roles like Caesar, or KING KONG, or Gollum in LORD OF THE RINGS being absolutely stunning. Serkis also has a big part as Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, in addition to his upcoming part in THE HOBBIT, so his mo-cap performances will continue.

However, it’s really a gray area here about what exactly goes into these performances, and I imagine the Academy will be very reluctant to reward a performance so closely identified with CGI. It reminds me of Zoe Saldana, who was heavily favored for a best supporting actress nod in AVATAR, but was eventually overlooked by the Academy. And in that film, she got to use her voice, unlike Serkis (for the most part) in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.


That said, if Serkis doesn’t get a nomination this year, it’s inevitable that before long, someone will for a similar performance as motion capture isn’t going anywhere. In RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Serkis and Weta show exactly what can be accomplished if the technology is used correctly and that deserves recognition.

Source: JoBlo.com

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6:17PM on 08/10/2011

Meh

What? For moving like a monkey?
What? For moving like a monkey?
Your Reply:



3:02AM on 08/10/2011
I think he deserves one, but I don't think they'll give it to him. If Saldana didn't get one for Avatar, the academy still has the same people from a few years back and the stick is undoubtedly still stuck up their ass when it comes to special effects. Just as an experiment, I'd love to see Weta completely create a performance from scratch in a dramatic movie and see if they can score Oscar buzz, then drop the bomb that the person isn't even real.
I think he deserves one, but I don't think they'll give it to him. If Saldana didn't get one for Avatar, the academy still has the same people from a few years back and the stick is undoubtedly still stuck up their ass when it comes to special effects. Just as an experiment, I'd love to see Weta completely create a performance from scratch in a dramatic movie and see if they can score Oscar buzz, then drop the bomb that the person isn't even real.
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+3
10:11PM on 08/09/2011
Remember how Tron didn't even an effects oscar? Yeah. Even though the best performance in Apes was Serkis who made us feel for a CGI character even more than what he did in Kong.... watch it be called 'cheating' and not be noticed.
Remember how Tron didn't even an effects oscar? Yeah. Even though the best performance in Apes was Serkis who made us feel for a CGI character even more than what he did in Kong.... watch it be called 'cheating' and not be noticed.
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3:25PM on 08/09/2011

Even Though I Didnt Like This Movie

You still cant take anything away from Serkis and what he is capable of doing on screen

But without noms for King Kong or LOTR it seems less and less likely that Hollywood will see what a gift this truly is
You still cant take anything away from Serkis and what he is capable of doing on screen

But without noms for King Kong or LOTR it seems less and less likely that Hollywood will see what a gift this truly is
Your Reply:



2:34PM on 08/09/2011
I do agree. Perhaps the Academy needs to create some new categories for achievements in films that didn't didn't exists before now.
I do agree. Perhaps the Academy needs to create some new categories for achievements in films that didn't didn't exists before now.
Your Reply:



12:18PM on 08/09/2011

...and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

A nomination would be great, but I could see him winning in a few years for a sequel or a different movie. Let the mo-cap pour out of Hollywood and maybe after an abundance of mo-cap movies Hollywood will distinguish useful tools (cgi) from gimmicks (3D).
A nomination would be great, but I could see him winning in a few years for a sequel or a different movie. Let the mo-cap pour out of Hollywood and maybe after an abundance of mo-cap movies Hollywood will distinguish useful tools (cgi) from gimmicks (3D).
Your Reply:



+8
12:08PM on 08/09/2011
Because Caesar, Gollum & King Kong were created in the collaboration of Andy Serkis AND WETA I would give them a Special Award. But not an acting award.
Because Caesar, Gollum & King Kong were created in the collaboration of Andy Serkis AND WETA I would give them a Special Award. But not an acting award.
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11:38AM on 08/09/2011
Serkis 100% deserves an Oscar but unfortunately in order for him to get one The Academy would have to leave the 20th century, something I can't see them doing anytime soon.
Serkis 100% deserves an Oscar but unfortunately in order for him to get one The Academy would have to leave the 20th century, something I can't see them doing anytime soon.
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1:00PM on 08/10/2011
We are in the 21st century. The 20th century ended 11 years ago, friend.
We are in the 21st century. The 20th century ended 11 years ago, friend.
11:40PM on 08/10/2011
Yes, I am aware of that. The Academy, I'm not so sure.
Yes, I am aware of that. The Academy, I'm not so sure.
11:34AM on 08/09/2011
Sure thing, he is acting, he is taking on difficult roles and making them uber-believable. serkis is a tremendous actor who works incredibly hard at his craft. He should be recognized by the academy. Winning is perhaps different than at least being nominated for his unique work.
Sure thing, he is acting, he is taking on difficult roles and making them uber-believable. serkis is a tremendous actor who works incredibly hard at his craft. He should be recognized by the academy. Winning is perhaps different than at least being nominated for his unique work.
Your Reply:



11:07AM on 08/09/2011
What he did for Gollum was amazing, but I'm thinking what he did for Caesar could have been accomplished by many other actors. He's been blessed to play two of the most high profile motion captured characters that we've seen on screen in the last 12 years.
What he did for Gollum was amazing, but I'm thinking what he did for Caesar could have been accomplished by many other actors. He's been blessed to play two of the most high profile motion captured characters that we've seen on screen in the last 12 years.
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11:06AM on 08/09/2011
If there would be a new category he should get one. But since he's playing almost every digital character he wouldn't have many competitors.
If there would be a new category he should get one. But since he's playing almost every digital character he wouldn't have many competitors.
Your Reply:



10:48AM on 08/09/2011

Yes, he does.

Serkis displayed a wide range of emotions and character with Caesar that you don't get from most actors nowadays. You felt sympathetic for him when he was in trouble or felt misplaced or unwanted; you felt empowered when he began his rise. It was a well-written role for a man whom has completely surrendered his body, soul, and movements to the role to breathe life into the role. From Gollum to Kong to Caesar, it is time he gets a Oscar or at least a nod.
Serkis displayed a wide range of emotions and character with Caesar that you don't get from most actors nowadays. You felt sympathetic for him when he was in trouble or felt misplaced or unwanted; you felt empowered when he began his rise. It was a well-written role for a man whom has completely surrendered his body, soul, and movements to the role to breathe life into the role. From Gollum to Kong to Caesar, it is time he gets a Oscar or at least a nod.
Your Reply:



10:40AM on 08/09/2011
"Personally, I’d like to see Serkis get the nomination, but I truly feel that if he did, it should be shared with the key animators at Weta, as the role is truly a partnership between him and Weta."

While I agree with this statement, let's think about it for a second. Theoretically, both Weta and Serkis would be recognized albeit in separate categories; Weta for the effects and Serkis for the performance. So, technically, they would be sharing the nomination it'd just be broken up,
"Personally, I’d like to see Serkis get the nomination, but I truly feel that if he did, it should be shared with the key animators at Weta, as the role is truly a partnership between him and Weta."

While I agree with this statement, let's think about it for a second. Theoretically, both Weta and Serkis would be recognized albeit in separate categories; Weta for the effects and Serkis for the performance. So, technically, they would be sharing the nomination it'd just be broken up, recognizing those involved for the respective parts they played in bringing it to life.

It seems like voters only see the effects and either forget, or refuse to acknowledge, there's a living, breathing performance underneath. I'm hopeful though that someday they'll be able to see past the digital make-up and recognize the performance that lies beneath.
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10:31AM on 08/09/2011

I guess I should add one more note that the other question is whether Andy Serkis should be nominated for THIS movie.

This isn't about how much work he put in to Gollum, or King Kong. This is about his role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Some of you are mixing in other things than the performance, remember how questions came up about whether Natalie Portman really earned the Oscar last year? We're thinking "she worked SO hard to learn ballet, and she's such a lovely actress" but did she warrant it from that role in particular?
Can you say that Andy Serkis behind a CG monkey did better than Colin Firth or
This isn't about how much work he put in to Gollum, or King Kong. This is about his role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Some of you are mixing in other things than the performance, remember how questions came up about whether Natalie Portman really earned the Oscar last year? We're thinking "she worked SO hard to learn ballet, and she's such a lovely actress" but did she warrant it from that role in particular?
Can you say that Andy Serkis behind a CG monkey did better than Colin Firth or Michael Parks, or whoever the hell else will have buzz around them in the coming months?
Your Reply:



10:01AM on 08/09/2011
I hope Serkis got recognized for his works and numerous performances.
I hope Serkis got recognized for his works and numerous performances.
Your Reply:



9:47AM on 08/09/2011
It'll be a while still before the Academy actually awards a mo-cap character with the award, and when they do, you know Serkis, or whoever it is, will be standing up there thanking their technical crew for helping them embody their role. On that level I'm all for it. But it's a bold new frontier of ambiguity insofar as acting is concerned. It's a step below that dystopian vision of movies without actors, and so naturally there will be some who just won't accept it yet.
It'll be a while still before the Academy actually awards a mo-cap character with the award, and when they do, you know Serkis, or whoever it is, will be standing up there thanking their technical crew for helping them embody their role. On that level I'm all for it. But it's a bold new frontier of ambiguity insofar as acting is concerned. It's a step below that dystopian vision of movies without actors, and so naturally there will be some who just won't accept it yet.
Your Reply:



+1
9:44AM on 08/09/2011

Serkis deserves it

He's better than others that have won the prize. His King Kong was masterful too. I don't think he should share the prize with the animaters, the performance was his alone. But the animators might also deserve a prize on their own.
He's better than others that have won the prize. His King Kong was masterful too. I don't think he should share the prize with the animaters, the performance was his alone. But the animators might also deserve a prize on their own.
Your Reply:



9:33AM on 08/09/2011

Yes

The man puts in a lot of hard work and he captures it so well.
The man puts in a lot of hard work and he captures it so well.
Your Reply:



9:07AM on 08/09/2011

Sure

This guy has been able to add life to characters that would otherwise be computer generated graphics. He is the reason the audience feels any connection at all to the characters he portrays. I say HELL YES!
This guy has been able to add life to characters that would otherwise be computer generated graphics. He is the reason the audience feels any connection at all to the characters he portrays. I say HELL YES!
Your Reply:



9:05AM on 08/09/2011

maybe

i think he earned a nomination for Gollum from Two Towers, but i dont think he´s done a performance that was quite the same caliber since. He´s an amazing performer and i do think he (and his tech team) should get an honorary award for advancement in special effects.
i think he earned a nomination for Gollum from Two Towers, but i dont think he´s done a performance that was quite the same caliber since. He´s an amazing performer and i do think he (and his tech team) should get an honorary award for advancement in special effects.
Your Reply:



8:45AM on 08/09/2011

No.

The way I see it is that it's a puppet (a bajillion dollar super-puppet), and puppets have been dictated as unable to be nominated for acting. No matter how detailed the motion capture things get, it's not a prosthetic, it's just incredibly detailed photoshopping.
The way I see it is that it's a puppet (a bajillion dollar super-puppet), and puppets have been dictated as unable to be nominated for acting. No matter how detailed the motion capture things get, it's not a prosthetic, it's just incredibly detailed photoshopping.
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8:54AM on 08/09/2011
yes but serkis still had to act, and give the emotion for the CGI artists to help them feel the emotion of the scene!
yes but serkis still had to act, and give the emotion for the CGI artists to help them feel the emotion of the scene!
8:56AM on 08/09/2011
Without Serkis' performance though it would be impossible to animate the motions and expressions of the character.
Without Serkis' performance though it would be impossible to animate the motions and expressions of the character.
9:19AM on 08/09/2011
I disagree. I don't think it is like a puppet, I think it is like extremely elaborate digital make-up. You wouldn't have deprived Heath Ledger an Oscar because you can use the excuse "Oh, the make-up made his character what it is." I think your argument is a sign of your ignorance of things to come.
I disagree. I don't think it is like a puppet, I think it is like extremely elaborate digital make-up. You wouldn't have deprived Heath Ledger an Oscar because you can use the excuse "Oh, the make-up made his character what it is." I think your argument is a sign of your ignorance of things to come.
10:14AM on 08/09/2011
Well that's where we're differing, you see it as "digital" makeup. I don't. It is by it's nature, puppetry. It's an animation, Andy Serkis may give all the information in the world to the animation team, but it's not equivalent to him wearing an actual prosthetic.
Well that's where we're differing, you see it as "digital" makeup. I don't. It is by it's nature, puppetry. It's an animation, Andy Serkis may give all the information in the world to the animation team, but it's not equivalent to him wearing an actual prosthetic.
10:21AM on 08/09/2011
I fully expect that it's going to wind up in a similar situation to how animated features are handled. They can be nominated for Best Actor, but I can imagine within 10 years that a "Best Animated Performance" category or something along that line will be invented and that's where those performances will be delegated.
I fully expect that it's going to wind up in a similar situation to how animated features are handled. They can be nominated for Best Actor, but I can imagine within 10 years that a "Best Animated Performance" category or something along that line will be invented and that's where those performances will be delegated.