On Andy Serkis, Apes and the Oscars

Strong box office earnings have done little to discourage rumors that Andy Serkis could potentially be nominated for an Oscar due to his impressive performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Interestingly enough, the Oscar buzz began well before the popular movie was even released. The first to weigh in on Serkis and a potential Oscar was The Hollywood Reporter with the headline “Will Andy Serkis Score Acting Nom Without Appearing on Screen?”

Then on opening day, The L.A. Times asked, “Will the Oscars go bananas over Rise of the Planet of the Apes?”

Of course, all this Oscar talk has stirred up a whole debate about whether an actor in motion capture should be nominated.


Serkis did a wonderful job playing Golum and King Kong, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt has called him the “Charlie Chaplin of our time,” strong praise indeed. 

Serkis himself said, “I never considered (performance capture) anything else but live action acting,” also telling NPR, “With performance capture, if you don’t get the performance on the day, you can’t enhance the performance. I think there is a woeful lack of understanding from the acting community. The tool is nothing more than another way of recording an actor’s performance.”


Of course, a tool is only as good as the person using it, and you can do a lot of great stuff with motion capture with the right director at the helm, as James Cameron and Jackson have proven, and as actors like Serkis have demonstrated as well.

If Serkis’s performance in Apes is deemed truly Oscar worthy, it could be a big game changer for the technology, and why shouldn’t Serkis win an Academy Award?

It’s certainly a lot harder to really convey a character with special effects, and convince an audience what they’re looking at is real. Now isn’t that Oscar worthy?