This blog post was crossed posted here.
Dear Mr. Serkis,
If you deserve to be considered for an Academy Award nomination for Acting in regards to your performance motion capture, then every animator who has ever animated a character in any movie deserves consideration as well.
P.S., Let me clarify:
Recently, you have been quoted as claiming that performance capture actors deserve to be considered for the Academy Awards in Acting categories:
Is the technology that Weta developed awe-inspiring and exciting? Hell yes it is. I’d love to be on set just for a day and see what the technology is like from start to finish. It would be amazing (and after writing this I may never get the chance). But to see the contribution of an entire discipline glossed over so readily by both a recognizable name (your own, Andy Serkis!) AND a production team is disheartening and frustrating.
Yet, as infuriating as that may be, this is not the point I want to make here. That point is:
If you deserve to be considered for an Academy Award nomination for Acting, then every animator who has ever animated a character in any movie deserves consideration as well.
Animators, both hand-keyed and motion capture artists, breathe life into their characters. They push performances of their characters to an artistic limit, based on the direction they are given. Many even use video reference- animators often of themselves performing (yes, ACTING) the scenes they are working on, mocap artists using video shot on set.
Not to single one person out, but some do it REALLY WELL, like this example (password: education):
And this one:
It should be clear that this guy is an amazing animator. He’s also a great example of an animator using his own performance to bring characters to life (in the case of Rio, a female lead, and supporting male, and a bird.) As animators, we’ve been taught that video reference is a powerful tool. Like any tool, however, it requires training and practice to get right.
Some things may come more naturally (in a male animator’s case, the supporting male). Some things may take more creativity (like humanizing a creature, such as a bird). Even other things may take a bigger investment into the movement and emotion of the character (the female lead).
However, the end result in Rio didn’t come from just an animator’s performance. It came from the ability to translate that acting into what the digital character warranted.
Like you, Mr. Serkis, animators use their performance to improve and sell the characters they are acting for, in the interest of the whole story.
So my question for you is this:
Don’t animators also deserve individual recognition from the Academy for Acting?
Mr. Serkis, please leave a comment here, or drop me a line. I welcome the discussion, as would many others who do and do not share my opinion.