Debate has gone on for months over whether or not Andy Serkis should be nominated for an Oscar for his work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The issue at hand isn’t the work done by Serkis, which is clearly strong. It is the fact that he did that work on set but isn’t actually seen in the film, as his physical presence is painted out and replaced with the all-CGI ape Caesar.

The problem, inasmuch as there is one, is that some people have a difficult time seeing through that wash of pixels to understand the work that Serkis did for the film. But a new clip shows a full scene as captured by cameras on set, with Serkis performing as Caesar, and then presents the same scene with his CG alter-ego in place. If you had any doubts about what sort of work Serkis did for the role, this will erase them. Read More »

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The process of doling out Oscars is a lot more transparent in some than in others. While the core categories like Best Picture, and writing, directing and acting are all the subject of great speculation for months before the nominations are even announced, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is much more open about what specific films are in contention for some technical awards.

For instance, there is the Visual Effects Oscar, for which the Academy today announced that ten films are in the running. They include most of the options one might expect, from Hugo to Mission: Impossible to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The full list is below. Read More »

Maybe it’s just because I got a cat this year — the first living, breathing creature I’ve owned since I failed to keep a hamster alive circa 1995 — but I couldn’t help noticing that the films of 2011 featured some damn great animals. Some were the stars of their films, like Rango (Johnny Depp) in Rango, while others played second fiddle to less interesting, or at least less adorable, human stars, like Rosie (Tai) in Water for Elephants, but all deserve special mention in my book.

And yeah, okay, the fact that they also serve as a convenient excuse to post cute animal photos during a slow news week happens to a nice little bonus as well. Read on after the jump.

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Fox is already at work pulling together a film to follow Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which became a surprise audience and critical favorite this summer. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, writers on Rise, are writing the next film, which Wyatt is currently slated to direct.

We don’t know any specifics about the sequel at this point, despite the fact that Wyatt has said a lot of things about where it could possibly go. But the screenwriters recently made one comment that fans of the film might find interesting. That’s below, and I suppose it’s worth noting that really talking about their comment requires some spoilers for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Read More »

There’s a lot of early talk about sequels going around this week, as the directors of current movies promote their new releases. After the break, we’ve got quotes on the following:

  • Mark Neveldine says Crank 3 will happen,
  • Rupert Wyatt talks about a Planet of the Apes sequel,
  • Brad Bird has a couple more comments about The Incredibles 2,
  • Guy Ritchie talks up a possible RocknRolla sequel,
  • And Robert Downey Jr. and producer Joel Silver address a possible Sherlock Holmes 3.

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Oscar-campaigning is in full swing and one race many of us are keeping an eye on is Best Supporting Actor. The reason for the scrutiny on that particular category is that 20th Century Fox is pushing for a precedent setting performance capture nomination for Andy Serkis in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Serkis, who also worked with the technology in Lord of the Rings, King Kong and the upcoming The Adventures of Tintin and The Hobbit, is absolutely brilliant as Caesar, but you never see him on screen. Even so, the whole film hinges on his non-verbal performance. Building the film around him obviously worked, as Rise of the Planet of the Apes grossed almost $500 million world wide.

Ads are now popping up all over trade magazines and websites that state “The Time is Now” for the Oscars to recognize performance capture with a photo of Serkis’ face and that of the CGI Caesar. Do you agree? Check out the add after the jump. Read More »

The question about actors qualifying for Oscar when performing under layers of makeup and prosthetics goes back years. The conversation has intensified in recent years with the rise of motion-capture technology, and since Andy Serkis helped incarnate Gollum in The Lord of the Rings there has been a push to give Academy recognition to actors, specifically Serkis, who aren’t directly seen on screen.

Serkis’ work in this summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a crucial part of that film’s best character, the ape Caesar. Since the film’s release the level of chatter about Oscar recognition for mo-cap work has definitely risen. And now Tom Rothman, the co-chairman and CEO of Fox, says that he will push for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Serkis. Read More »

I think it’s fair to say that Rise of the Planet of the Apes surprised a great many people. (Myself included.) Powered by a nuanced performance from Andy Serkis as the ape Caesar and cutting-edge effects wizardry from WETA, Rise shrugged off assumptions that it was a hackneyed cash-in sequel to become that rare summer tentpole that scored both critical and audience approval.

Now Fox has announced that it plans to stage a campaign for Oscar recognition for Serkis, and has signed him to reprise the role of Caesar in multiple additional Apes films. Read More »

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