Andy Serkis, animators, and the Oscars

Slashdot points to a Salon article about Andy Serkis (voice and motion reference for Gollum in The Two Towers) missing an Oscar nomination:

"In the end, the answer is no, not because his talents are less significant than those of the supporting actor nominees, but because the work that he has done here is not equivalent. It would be a disservice to the other nominees to compete against the computer-enhanced Serkis, just as it would be a disservice to Gollum to be written off as an accomplishment of acting."

The article is disappointing. While Andy Serkis did a great job, giving him sole credit for the performance would be forgetting all the animators who also brought that character to life. Much of the performance used motion-capture, but many of the most important scenes (such as the “split personality” scene that cuts back and forth between the two faces of Gollum) were entirely keyframed by animators, with just a glance at the actor’s performance for reference.

The real problem is that the Oscar categories need to be updated to include roles that don’t fall into the traditional actor/actress ones. The Annie Awards (for animated films and television) have long had a best voice actor category. The Oscars could embrace that category, and add others such as best lead animator or best character, to pay tribute to the whole team that brought a digital character to life.

Manton Reece @manton