Fox Wants Andy Serkis To Receive Oscar Nod For ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

Published 3 years ago by

rise planet apes andy serkis Fox Wants Andy Serkis To Receive Oscar Nod For Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The use of motion-capture technology has become increasingly commonplace in recent and upcoming big-budget productions – be it to create “realistic” cartoon humans (The Adventures of Tintin), bizarre extraterrestrial creatures (Super 8), fire-breathing dragons (The Hobbit), superhero costumes composed of unusual material or substances (Man of Steel), or even giant, green, rage-fueled men (The Avengers).

While the film community as a whole seems to recognize just how useful this new filmmaking tool is, there has been disagreement over how we should evaluate the quality of a mo-cap enhanced performance – specifically, in comparison to those that are done sans any makeup (be it old-fashioned practical or digital in design).

20th Century Fox Film Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Tom Rothman has announced that the studio aims to mix things up (with regards to that issue) by officially pushing for Andy Serkis to receive a Best Supporting Actor nod for his turn as the genetically-altered ape, Caesar, in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Such a move would not only mark a first for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but also serve as a public recognition of the quality of Serkis’ acclaimed mo-cap performance in the Planet of the Apes franchise reboot/prequel (requel).

Here is what Rothman had to say, on the matter of Serkis’ chances of landing an Oscar nod (via THR):

“I think part of what we have to do is help educate people to understand that [Caesar] is 100 percent [Serkis'] performance. It is great emotional acting. Tom Hanks didn’t have to say any dialogue in ‘Castaway’ for it to be a great performance… The emotionality – what you see and what you feel – [Serkis] did it. I saw him. I watched him. Then they digitally overlaid – you can think of it as a costume – the skin and the hair of an ape. But I tell you the thing that people felt – and a lot of people where moved when they saw the movie – is because of his performance.”

Many moviegoers feel Serkis ought to be nominated for his Apes role, based on his performance alone. However, such a move would also be seen as reparation (of sorts) for the actor being snubbed for his beloved mo-cap turn as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

andy serkis rise planet apes sequel Fox Wants Andy Serkis To Receive Oscar Nod For Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Will Serkis be recognized for his turn as Caesar?

Part of the reason behind the controversy surrounding mo-cap performances is that people have mixed feelings about how much the “human component” actually affects the CGI final product. Some might argue that, say, Neytiri in Avatar or the titular character in Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake could have been just as emotionally-expressive had they simply been purely computer-animated creations. Others would say that thespians like Zoe Saldana and Andy Serkis (who portrayed the aforementioned mo-cap characters) have yet to receive their due credit, with regards to the pivotal role they played in bringing said non-human creatures to life in a convincing fashion.

The debate will surely carry on in the future, given the increasing prevalence of mo-cap technology. Whether someone like Serkis will (or won’t) be awarded for their efforts anytime soon, though, is another matter…


Do you feel Serkis should (at least) be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.

Source: THR

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  1. “Do you feel Serkis should (at least) be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes?”
    One word – YES.

    • Mr. Serkis should receive MORE than just a mere nomination or “nod,” for his excellent character performances!!

      • YES!

        it was just awesome what he did after watching this movie!

  2. No.

    There is no way (as stated) to show how much of an impact the actor has over the mo-cap process and or the mo-cap over the actor.

    Serkis has a “nitch” market right now. He was/is tied into these roles now thanks to the mo-cap process and his ability. However is he the only one?

    Were others approached about doing this? Is there someone better out there that he could compete against?

    Should he be recognized for his pioneering work in the mo-cap process? Of course. It has elevated the movie experience and I can only see it getting better from here, thanks to his (and others) work. However a Best Supporting Character Academy Award?


    • You make valid points Aknot. I think the only fair thing to do would be to create a new category of an Academy Award. Since mo-cap achievements are not that common, I think this new category should encompass any similiar contibutions to movie magic. I will leave the details of this category in the capable hands of the Academy Award Lords of the manor.

  3. Yeah sure, I felt that after watching the movie

  4. I’m all for this campaign.

    As for the argument that the Naytiri or King Kong could’ve been just as expressive if they had been purely computer generated creations…

    Look, if the entire world is CGI like Toy Story, then okay, but when you’re doing a live action that has an extreme CGI character component, then no. The truth of such a claim is not an indefinite possibility, but we’re simply not there yet. We rely on the human component because we’re still figuring out how best to blend live action with CG human characters. To capture the expressiveness of real, living breathing characters. Even the technology is geared toward maximizing human emotion and traits as much as possible so that it translates to a better performance on screen. So with that, the human element is definately being put onto the screen. Further, Rise of the Planet of the Apes did it better than anyone prior. When they’re saying that Ceasar is Serkis, they mean it.

    That’s why I disagree with the argument against Serkis. Not to shoot the messenger or anything, Sandy. I understand that you’re just stirring the pot with what has been said.

  5. It is inevitable the motion capture process and
    computer masking enhances the actors performance.
    It is not correct to claim the performance is 100% the actor.

    Once there are enough of these type of performances
    over the course of a year and I suspect the numbers
    will be growing a special category of awards could
    be created as there is for animation and effects.

    • Yeah, you’re right. A special category should be created, because as controversial as it would be to give Serkis a nod over someone whose performance was 100% them (please excuse my terrible phrasing), I think it would be just as bad for Serkis not to get recognition at the awards at all.

      • I could definitely see a “Best Mo-cap Performance” category being created in the future – though, if that were to happen, I suppose that’d mean a mo-cap performer wouldn’t be allowed to receive a Best Actor/Actress nod.

        That’d be different than the situation for animated movies, which can qualify for both Best Animated Feature and Best Picture. Still, it would be a reasonable compromise, all things considered…

      • There would be very little competition in that category.

  6. Oops. I meant to say,
    “The truth of such a claim is not an indefinate [IM]possibility, but we’re simply not there yet.”

    Impossibility, not possibility. My bad.

  7. Yes he should be nominated but I don’t think he should win.

    I preferred his performance as Gollum/Schmiegel.

  8. Why dont I get an award for working my butt of every day? Movie awards are a joke IMHO. I never watch them or care what the results are. A good movie is a good movie regardless of what award it wins.

    • ..

  9. An Oscar for Caesar? 100%
    ..agree that he shouldn’t win but it is one of the best performances of the year.
    What a surprising movie that was.

  10. He should have got one for Gollum in The Two Towers. But to me I just don’t think Caesar cut the mustard.

  11. Personally I thought John Lithgow’s performance was the best of the film.

  12. Of course. He deserves it. He does a phenomenal job in what he does, from Gollum to Monkey in Enslaved to Ceasar. It’s time he gets some recognition.

  13. Physical movement and spatial awareness are a large part of acting and with these types of performances the person in the suit has to do some type of work in order to make it work right. It comes down to having skill in mime or pantomime, which is why people like Serkis and Doug Jones seem to get allot of this work. This practice is similar to the people who did allot of the monster work in movies like Alien and Predator, where they the actor is covered in effects but still has to be able to emote and make it look good.

    The use of computer graphics to create the overall visual imagery may make it seem like a cheat in the actors favor, but if allot what the animators work from is the actors performance then it may be situation where in time it could be considered more legit as far as awards go. And if directors can get accolades for using massive amounts of CGI that most of them have no hand in doing why can’t an actor who actually has to sweat in a mo-cap suit covered in golf balls be recognized?

    • Well a director still has to direct. With the effects someone else can make the person in the mo-cap suit (or other suit, drawing, animation, etc) do something the director wants instead of what that person did in the first place.

      Meaning if the director wanted Caesar to wink in a scene that did not have him wink (after the shoot) it could easily (?) be manipulated in with no input from Serkis.

      • Well some directors still have to direct, judging by some of the movies they put out these days I wonder how much some of them actually do. At some point as the technology grows the lines between who is actually responsible for certain aspects of film are going to get more and more blurred.

        Is this type of performance going to be considered mostly an animated performance, or does the person in the suit(who in most cases is also delivering dialog, or some aspect of the performance)bring something note-worthy to the table? Like I said this is kind of like anyone who does movies in heavy make-up or prosthetic effects, which is also kind of ignored in some circles. Or even to the extent that voice-over acting might not be considered legit by some, but they do have to be able to convey some type of emotion in conjunction with whatever visuals someone else has done.

  14. Motion-capture technology is such a great invention to bring excellent experience to audience!

  15. Untill Mocap to final is a completely untouched transition, you cannot give an Oscar for it, it’s a joint effort with significant work being done by animators and other creative individuals, some of Ceasars acting was 100% keyframed from scratch by animators.

  16. Serkis should get an oscar for his role in film. :)

  17. I loved Andy’s Kong and Ceasar. Zoe’s Neytiri was amazing. However you cannot put them in a category with actors who are not mo cap. Neytiri’s tears were perfect when the moment called for it. Were they perfect because of Zoe Saldana or because of a guy at a computer screen. I’m all for creating an additional category. Say what you will about it but we know Capt Jack Sparrow or The Joker were 100% the result of actor choices/performances. We can’t say the same about Cesar and Neytiri.

  18. Until mo-cap can made an official category, why not simply award a special oscar for achievement in that field, as they do for Lifetime Achievement? And to be totaly fair, why not a special oscar for computer animators?