‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Incites Oscar Controversy

Following a successful $73 million draw in its first weekend, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes seems to be on everyone’s mind. Currently sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been getting amazing word of mouth and was even touted here at The Inquisitr as the “most human adaptation yet” for the long-running series.

The person greatly responsible for that human performance in the lead role as Caesar is performance-capture guru Andy Serkis, a man who had already made a huge splash over a decade prior for his role as Gollum in Lord of the Rings. With his latest–and potentially greatest–performance in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Serkis raises a very important question: Can a person win an Oscar for Best Actor in a role that is 100 percent performance capture?

You may recognize this question from 2011, which quite fittingly, came about when the previous film in the Planet Of The Apes series, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, hit theaters. Serkis’ nuanced performance of a younger ape Caesar had piqued the interest of many, and in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he had expressed is frustration at how misunderstood performance-capture was:

“Ten years down the line, people say, ‘Oh, so you did the voice of Gollum?’ Or people go, ‘You did the movements for Kong?’ It’s frustrating, because I play Gollum and I play Kong. It is acting.”

The Academy Awards in 2012 came and went, and Serkis had no Oscar to show his Apes performance. Two years later, we still ask ourselves the same question. It’s a difficult one, to say the least, and the debate has run rampant on where the performance ends and digital effects begin.

With something like Transformers, the divide is easy to see, but with a film like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, it’s a lot harder. In an interview with io9 earlier this year, Serkis seemed to give more credence to the actor, even going so far as to call the CG “digital makeup.” The “digital makeup” comment is a line that many CG enthusiasts seem to be stuck on as it seems to downplay the importance of digital effects’ impact on the film.

Okay, so who deserves the award for Serkis’ Apes role as Caesar?

With Dawn Of The Planet Of the Apes winning hearts left and right, there have been rumors of creating a whole new category for the Oscars wherein both the actor and digital house are credited. However, in an interview with Screen Rant, Matt Reeves, director of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes explains why he thinks it’s a bad idea:

“People have said, ‘Maybe there should be a special category.” I’m saying, “No. There really are two categories that already fit. One is the best performance by an actor, and that is what Toby [Kebbell] and Andy do. and then there is sort of best visual effects, and that is what Weta does.’”

No matter the solution, it is no doubt destined to inspire controversy, but Andy Serkis is long overdue for recognition for the trailblazing work he has been doing for the past fifteen years.

Thoughts? Will Dawn Of The Planet Of TheApes inspire change at the Oscars this coming year or will performance capture, once again, come up empty-handed?