Serkis For Best Actor…Again

There was a fair amount of talk a couple of years ago about Andy Serkis deserving a Best Actor (or Best Supporting Actor) nomination for his performance as Ceasar in Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Which of course SAG voters ignored because they feel threatened by the idea of digitally-assisted performances. Which of course is delusional. Hollywood actors have been cool with old-fashioned theatrical makeup for decades but not digital makeup, which is all that WETA is providing here. If you ask me Serkis’s follow-up performance in Matt ReevesDawn of the Planet of the Apes is even more impressive than his work in Rise because it’s a bit sadder with a more deft and gentler touch — a subtle, carefully measured portrayal of a leader who has the weight and the fate of the ape world on his shoulders. It once again seems an entirely reasonable if not necessary thing to state that Serkis again deserves a Best Actor nomination. SAG blue-hairs will probably never understand that Serkis alone is doing the performing here. 80-plus years ago AMPAS members managed to accept the fact that Frederic March and not the makeup guy was the performer in 1931′s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which led them to give him a Best Actor Oscar (along with The Champ‘s Wallace Beery). Try it again — Serkis’s performance is not about motion capture or performance capture. The WETA guys are simply providing a kind of augmentation that’s no different than a makeup or wardrobe person applying a fake beard or putty nose or offering the right kind of apparel.