Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rise of The Planet of The Apes star Andy Serkis to get Oscar / awards push and a big sequel payday for Rise 2...

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Andy Serkis getting a genuine Oscar / awards push for his performance as Caesar in Rise of The Planet of The Apes was a talking point in the film media this summer. From The Hollywood Reporter to Aint It Cool to this very site, the debate as to whether the people who vote for awards are finally ready to ditch their fear / prejudice / ignorance around the art of Motion Capture performance and hand out, at the very least, a major nomination for a Mo-Cap performance.

Rise of The Planet of The Apes: Featurette claims the film wouldn’t be possible without Andy Serkis.

Most people who watched the film with anything approaching an open mind were struck by the quality, depth and level of performance in Andy Serkis’s performance. A look at the behind the scenes footage clearly shows that it is Serkis, in a full body act that you are seeing on screen, with what has aptly been described as “digital Makeup”. It is that element, the almost ethereal nature of the additions, as opposed to the solid, hard copy type of “make up” that actors are familiar with, not to mention the fear of being replaced by ‘synthespians’, that seems to have been the problem in the past. But if John Hurt & Natalie Portman can receive nominations and awards for the Elephant Man and Black Swan, both of which had performances ‘enhanced’, then why not Serkis here? I’d argue that his performance is at least the equal of both those mentioned above.

On that note Serkis has benefited from Fox not signing up actors for multiple films. With his performance (allied to the impressive technology on display) being the core driver of the film’s$455m (and still rising) gross. With a shooting cost of $93m it has meant the film is one of Fox’s more successful releases this year. More to the point, with audiences now convinced of the quality of the technology and the story (many consider this to e on a par with the original Apes movie, if not better) it is expected that a sequel of similar quality could earn even more. As such Fox have moved to secure Serkis with a much bigger fee than he received for Rise.

Serkis is currently wowing audiences across the globe in another motion captured role, as Captain Haddock in Tintin. A role he is scheduled to reprise sometime in 2012. That Tintin film is to be directed by Peter Jackson, who Serkis has been working for, again in Mo-Cap, reprising his role as Gollum in The Hobbit.

Global Box office battle sees Tintin breaking records...

Serkis as Captain Haddock in Spielberg's Tintin. Here it is the eyes that are key to getting across the strength of performance, not "100% realistic looking humans.
The technology has improved markedly since Lord of The Rings, with the facial cameras, made famous in Avatar, meaning that the level of performance from the actor’s eyes and facial expressions in massively increased: the argument that this crucial part of an actor’s performance is too much a hybrid of actor and effects people no longer holds water. That didn't prevent Zoe Saldana getting ‘snubbed’ for her performance in Avatar.
Mo-Cap a decade ago, already a very dated tech!

Another Mo-Cap perforance that many feel desered recognition is Zoe Saldana's in Avatar
The key to making this film work wasn't about having apes as photo-real as possible, they were very good though, it was in the eyes. They had to look intelligent, to look just that little bit different; and they did, but that also has to do with the skill of the performers.
So do you think Serkis deserves an Oscar, Bafta etc Nomination? Do you think he should win? I’ve seen dozens of films this year, from Drive, Detective Dee and We need to Talk About Kevin, to Thor, Tintin Kung Fu Panda and I can honestly say Serkis’ Best Actor (NOT Best Supporting Actor) hasn’t been bettered yet. He gets my vote, oh yeah I’m not a member...
(Fox Oscar push according to

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