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Fox Trying To Get Andy Serkis An Oscar Nomination For “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” [VIDEO]

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For BAFTA Los Angeles)
In a move that is more than likely going to cause some debate for this year’s Academy Awards, Fox is actively campaigning for Andy Serkis to be given an Oscar nomination for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, making him the first actor to be nominated for a motion-capture performance.  When no actors from “Avatar” received acting nominations at the Oscars, James Cameron complained that because they were mo-cap performances, they were mistaken as animation.  Star of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” James Franco wrote an article praising Serkis’ performance and said that the emotion of the scenes could only be achieved through the dynamic between the live actors, and not through an actor performing to a tennis ball, as is the norm for a scene featuring a CGI character.  In reply to Franco’s argument, Serkis said,

“I thought it was incredibly eloquent.  I think it was very bold. [It was] one of first times I’ve really felt that there has been such support and understanding and such articulate kind of understanding of the craft and that is born out of the experience of working together and him witnessing it at close hand. Someone told me about it and I was just blown away by the fact that he thought it necessary as an actor to put it out there to try and increase the understanding and education of what performance capture technology can do for an actor.”

The format of the Academy Awards has seen a few major changes as of late, such as increasing the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten.  Some have wondered if the increase of motion-capture performances would result in the creation of a special category for it at the Oscars.  When asked about this, Serkis shot it down saying,

“I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be anything but acting categories because that’s a part of the process that as I say is where the actor alters the performance.  Visual effects have their own category and animators and visual effects are already accoladed for the work they do on projects like ‘Rise of the Apes’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Avatar’ or ‘King Kong.’  In actual fact what hasn’t been accoladed and was the [key achievement] in ‘Avatar’ or recognized as such [were the motion capture performances] and that’s why I firmly believe that this is no more than acting.  It’s an important message. An important message to the acting community that it’s no more than acting because its a tool which enables us actors to play so many different characters and how it is finally manifested onscreen is not really the issue.”

One of the criticisms made against motion-capture performances is that the computer technicians should receive as much credit for the performance as the actor.  Serkis merely looks at that working relationship as one like actors and make-up artists, citing John Hurt’s Oscar nominated performance in “The Elephant Man” where Hurt was completely unrecognizable under the extreme make-up for the role.

In an attempt to put Serkis’ face with the role of Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, and to show the extent of his performance, Fox is releasing before-and-after footage of certain key scenes showing Serkis’ mo-cap performance compared to the final product.  What do you think?  Should mo-cap performances be considered for acting awards, or are they more special effects than performance?

via HitFix

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