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Andy Serkis Wants More Award Recognition for Motion-Capture Actors

Andy Serkis has had quite the prolific career as a motion-capture actor. Perhaps most famous for playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings (as well as the upcoming The Hobbit(es)), he’s also taken turns as Kong in King Kong, and, most recently, the ape Ceasar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now, Serkis is speaking out about the lack of respect his profession is paid in the awards circuit, saying that actors who perform under motion-capture are just as deserving of Academy Awards as their live-action counterparts.

Now, before you jump in with something about what you did or did not think of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, remember that the issue is much larger than this one movie. I personally have not yet actually seen the movie, so feel free to tell me if I’m completely off-base, but I do remember the ape’s performance being the most stand-out to me in the trailer. Looking at all the work actors like Serkis do in such well-known movies, I don’t think it would be off-base to say that their work is undervalued.

Here’s what Serkis had to say on the matter, in an interview with the BBC:

“The emotional content of these performances live and die by what the actors bring to the roles on set. I never approach a live-action role any differently to a performance-captured role. The process of acting is absolutely identical.”It should be recognised that there are two parts to the process. The first part is capturing the performance. Only later down the line do you start seeing the characters being painted over frame by frame using pixels.”

In a separate interview, he said:

“I am a bit evangelical, I know, but performance-capture is still misunderstood. Ten years down the line, people say, ‘Oh, so you did the voice of Gollum?’ Or people go, ‘You did the movements for [King]Kong?’ It’s frustrating, because I play Gollum and I play Kong. It is acting.”

He also insists that there need be no Oscar categories added–he should be in with the rest of the acting categories just like everybody else.

Now, to us, this issue is a lot less about whether Serkis in particular deserves to win an Oscar over recent nominees in the top acting categories, or over his co-stars in the film’s in which he’s taken part. But would it be really nice to see his–and other actors and actresses like him in the motion-capture business–be given more of a chance to receive such accolades? We’d say yes.

So, yes, we think Serkis and others like him deserve recognition from the proper channels when their work calls for it (just like any other actor). We also think, however, that the same respect and recognition should be paid any animators who helped to skin the character, as well. Which they have, in a way, with the Best Special Effects category in the Academy Awards and other major award shows. So why not recognize all the talent that goes into bringing these characters to life?

(Guardian via Blastr)

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  • Anonymous

    I feel like if stunt men aren’t getting awards and voice actors are still fighting for more recognition this is going to be a long battle.

  • Michaela Gordon

    Not to mention character animators!

  • Kate Falanga

    As much as I respect Andy Serkis (Which I do. I have a signed Gollum poster. He’s nice) it’s hard to separate the man from the message. Of course he wants more recognition for what he does since it’s mostly invisible to the layman. However he is going to need the acting community at large to be behind it in order to get any traction. I see a lot of resistance to that from a community where your face recognition sometimes means more than your actual ability.

  • IMSH

    I deserve an Oscar for my performance when I pretend to like movies that I really think are garbage. Best of luck to you Andy.

  • Amanda Jean Carroll

     It’s not that it would be “nice” to recognize him and the other folks acting in motion capture as actors — it is ridiculous not to. Andy Serkis gave a gorgeous performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He is an actor, and he acted, and it was wonderful. The artists who helped bring the character to life deserve recognition for their craft as well. Stunt-men, voice over actors — they all deserve recognition from their industry. It’s stupid and sad that they currently do not. The Academy is woefully behind the times. 
    Perhaps to us this insistence on recognition seems self serving — like, “Oh, Andy Serkis, you think you deserve an Oscar, eh?”. Personally, I would be thrilled to see him win one for his performance as Caesar. And if he’s not going to stand up for himself and the work he’s done, who will? Acting SHOULD be about acting instead of about face recognition. Sure, he’s got an uphill battle, but we shouldn’t criticize him for trying. 

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, I think the only recognition we’ve seen is from the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. That year they had a “Best Virtual Performance” category (Yoda, Dobby, Scooby Doo) and Andy Serkis won for Gollum. The acceptance speech was awesome & later Easter Egged on The Two Towers Extentended Edition:

    There are a lot of unsung heroes in the movie business and it is hard for them to get recognition when everything is about image & politics.

  • Amy C.

    Ugh. Acting isn’t about awards. People in Hollywood should just be happy that they get roles that pay extravagant amounts of money. When I go out for a role I am looking for a job and if I get it I will give the best performance/s I can. It should be about the love of the craft.

  • PenguinOnTheTelly

     I think what he’s saying is that he DOES have a love of his craft and he’d like his peers and the public (who, like it or not, do love awarding the movie industry no matter how much money they make) shared that love or at least showed respect for the work actors like him do.

  • Life Lessons

    He deserves it.

  • Oscar For Andy

    Follow and RT @OscarForAndy if you think Andy Serkis/Weta deserve an Oscar® nomination for his performance as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes #OscarForAndy ~ LIKE on Facebook: ~ Onward!