War for the Planet of the Apes trailer

Another genre film is entering this year’s Oscar race. After the news that Warner Bros. is launching a massive Best Picture and Best Director campaign for its runaway hit of the summerWonder Woman, 20th Century Fox is gearing up for battle with its own War for the Planet of the Apes Oscar push for Best Picture.

Fox is planning to launch one of the biggest Oscar campaigns in the studio’s history, throwing its weight behind the beloved third film in the Planet of the Apes reboot series.

The Planet of the Apes series has been acknowledged by the Academy Awards to some degree, picking up nods in technical categories like the original 1968 film’s special Oscar for make-up achievement, as well as costume and music score nominations. The new Apes films have only received nods for visual effects, despite their growing level of prestige and critical acclaim. It’s still a travesty that Andy Serkis‘ revelatory mo-cap performances as Caesar in both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have achieved little to recognition in awards circles.

Now 20th Century Fox is catching onto the buzz for Matt Reeves‘ capper to the Caesar trilogy, pushing for nominations with the various awards groups — such as SAG or critics awards — to try to land that coveted Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, according to Deadline. This includes a campaign for all the technical awards in addition to Director and Adapted Screenplay categories, and perhaps a “concerted effort” for a special award for Serkis.

Deadline reports:

In every way Fox will be launching a campaign to “make it about the movie,” as one person associated with the film has told me, and they have also hired a couple of top awards consultants to concentrate on efforts in just getting the film seen by members. They feel, based on response since its opening July 14, that the movie itself will take care of the rest.

Former Fox chief and a producer of War For The Planet Of The Apes Peter Chernin told Deadline that he believes the film, which currently boasts a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, could easily secure a nomination because of its transcendence of the genre film:

“I’m incredibly proud of this movie, and I do believe that on almost any level of storytelling, character development, narrative thrusts, or epic-ness, this is an extraordinary movie. In the past  people probably have tended to sort of genre-ize it and sort of look at it, well, as if it is a genre movie and not take it as seriously as they should, and I think that you know our view is that this movie deserves serious consideration. Certainly it’s been made with a level of ambition, care, and attention that’s as meaningful as anything I’ve ever worked on.”

While the push for a genre film like War for the Planet of the Apes to get a Best Picture nomination isn’t unusual — genre films like Mad Max: Fury Road have been making leeway in the category since The Dark Knight started a conversation about genre movies at the awards nearly a decade ago — it would be a first for a blockbuster film to be acknowledged for its mo-cap performances. Serkis helped spearhead the technology as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but received no recognition for that despite the eerie and provocative performance he gave. War for the Planet of the Apes relies heavily on mo-cap technology, and its ability to bring out raw and emotive performances from its actors and mesh them with the work of talented visual effects artists. If the technology and Serkis’ impact on this new form of acting can be acknowledged, it would be a huge win at the Oscars — which has often shown a preference toward historical prestige flicks or character dramas.

This year’s Oscar race is looking to be one of the most varied we’ve seen in ages, with blockbusters like Logan, Wonder Woman, and War for the Planet of the Apes picking up awards season buzz, and small genre films like Get Out and The Big Sick maintaining their critical momentum as we roll into the fall.

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