Despite All His Rage Andy Serkis Is Still Just an Ape in the Cage

Fox has been lobbying hard for Andy Serkis, the mo-cap actor extraordinaire behind the CG performance of Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (and Gollum, of course), to be considered for the Best Actor category in this year’s Academy Awards. To do that, they’ve taken out several ads promoting Serkis, and releasing clips like this, where you get to see Serkis’ mo-cap performance, and then how the animators translated it into the CG Caesar.

While I hate the Academy and feel that they stopped giving awards for “best” anything a long time ago (nowadays they just play catch up, and give Oscars to those they’ve snubbed in the past), I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this. Without a doubt, Serkis is an amazing performer and almost certainly the finest mo-cap actor… well, ever. I don’t want to downplay his talents at all. But Caesar isn’t just Andy Serkis — it took a team of skilled animators to turn Serkis into Caesar. It’s a group effort. By nominating Serkis for Best Actor, that kind of snubs half of Caesar’s “performance,” don’t you think? I guess I’m of the mind that it needs to have its own category, so both sides can be recognized. That just seems more correct to me.

Of course, part of my hesitation in allowing Serkis to be nominated for Best Actor might be because he played an ape. He played a very, very good ape, to be sure, but I would to think there are at least five male movie performances in 2011 that beat out a dude pretending to be a monkey. It’s like when Babe was nominated for Best Picture. It’s a movie about a talking pig. I don’t care if it’s the greatest talking pig movie ever made — if it’s one of the top 5 movies of the year, we should all pretend it isn’t so we don’t look like idiots. (Via io9)