According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fox is once again pushing hard to get Andy Serkis recognized for his acting work as Caesar in Planet Of The Apes. Oh Jesus, not this again.
Serkis, the premier practitioner of motion-capture acting will be pushed by 20th Century Fox for an Oscar in the category of best supporting actor, not best actor, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
There had been some speculation that Fox would campaign for Serkis in the lead actor category, despite it being as jam-packed as any this year, if only because Serkis’ part in Rise is top-billed and as prominent as any actor’s in the film. But instead the studio has formally resolved to promote its entire cast — including Toby Kebbell (Koba), Jason Clarke (Malcolm), Keri Russell (Ellie) and Gary Oldman (Dreyfus) — in the supporting categories, an approach that was previously employed on other ensemble-driven films such as Crash (2005), Syriana (2005) and Babel (2006), all of which landed acting noms. [TheHollywoodReporter]
Serkis was so method. I hear he slept in a tree for the entire shoot and threw a turd at a PA who screwed up his latte order. So brave. So, so brave.
Anyway, you may remember that Fox pulled basically this same thing back in 2012, releasing a bunch of clips of Andy Serkis jumping around in his body suit screeching, to piggyback on James Franco’s piece calling Serkis the Che Guevara of chimps, and repeating that old chestnut that motion-capture is just acting with digital make-up (something VFX artists seem to hate). The upside of it was, watching James Franco try to console a bleating British man in a spandex suit and headgear is one of the top 10 funniest things ever.
This is stupid. I don’t doubt Andy Serkis is a fine actor, but he should never get an acting Oscar for the Planet of the Apes. We could go back and forth all day over whether the fact that the VFX artists change his skeletal structure in post makes the performance less his or theirs, or whether simply not being able to know just how much the animators change should be a disqualifying factor in and of itself, but the simple reason is this:
Playing an ape is not that hard.
Again, Andy Serkis seems like a fine actor, and I can understand him wanting to be recognized for those roles that he’s so committed to. Fine. But come on, any 5-year-old can act like a chimp. Because playing a chimp is not that hard. Ooh, but he’s a chimp who also talks sometimes, it’s revolutionary! Remember how the Academy used to nominate anyone who played someone with a mental disability? They even nominated Jodie Foster for Nell. Have you ever seen Nell? Nell is a f*cking disaster. I’m embarrassed just watching Nell. The hype around Andy Serkis playing a chimp is just the hype around every actor from the 1980s until the early 2000s who played someone with a mental disability, but with fur. Stop it. Do you want another Nell? Dude, you do not want another Nell.
Andy Serkis can have his own Oscar. We can call it the Monkey Oscar, or Best Actor in a Spandex Suit. That way we don’t have to have this argument every time an ape movie comes out. It makes monkeys of us all.