Fox campaigning hard for Andy Serkis’s monkey Oscar

I think most of us could already predict this was coming based on how furiously everyone was jacking each other off over motion-capture when Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out over the summer. Now it’s official: Fox is pushing hard for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Andy Serkis’s performance as Caesar the ape. I’m all for it, but only if he has to give his acceptance speech using the talking sign language glove from Congo.

Fox will push to create momentum for a possible best supporting actor Oscar nomination for Andy Serkis for his performance as ape Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Tom Rothman said here Monday night.
“I think we may be at the place where we will see a first-ever in Hollywood this year, which is to see Andy Serkis get nominated for a best supporting actor for Planet of the Apes, even though his face never actually appears,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street when asked about Fox’s contenders for awards season. “But his performance appears, so we are going to push that hard.”
Further discussing Serkis’ work Rothman said: “The emotionality – what you see and what you feel – he 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.”

“He BECAME Caesar the ape. It was incredible to watch. He refused to break character for the entire shoot. I saw him hurl his own feces at a PA who messed up his Starbucks order once. What an incredible artist.”

“…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.” [THR]

“Only through a team of men drawing another man acting like an ape who became a man were we able to discover what it means to be human.”

There are few things funnier to me then seeing how inspired to wax poetic these dorks get at the sight of a tiny British man covered in spandex and ping pong balls, bellowing his heart’s desire to swing from trees. Or that an Academy dedicated to recognizing greatness in motion picture can only tell you’re acting if you’re pretending to be retarded or a gorilla. Or how touchy Andy Serkis gets about the subject. Someone emailed me this excerpt from a Grantland interview the other day:

Andy Serkis had a great quote about how annoyed he would get when people would say, “Oh, you’re the voice of Gollum.” He would say, “No, madam. I am Gollum.”

“I AM Caesar, motherf*cker! KING KONG, AIN’T GOT NOTHIN, ON ME!”

Hey, I thought Caesar was great. But again, so was Wall E. Performance capture still just seems a little more “because we can” than “because it’s necessary,” or even “because it’s better.” What I’d really like to see is the day when Hollywood’s beautiful people, the Paul Walkers, the Jessica Albas, the Keanus Reeve, are digitized, so that they can never age, or even have to show up to the set, while homely, classically-trained Englishmen work tirelessly behind the scenes to emote for them. We’d still get to see Paul Walker onscreen, but through the magic of performance capture, it’d be Paul Walker infused with the performance of an actor.