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Salon on Gollum's Failed Oscar Nomination

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the wouldn't-eat-be-nice dept.

Movies 301

Masem writes "Salon has an interesting commentary on the failure for Andy Serkis, the actor that used as the model and voice for Gollum in The Two Tower, to garnish an Oscar nomination despite the pressure that Peter Jackson and others placed on the Academy to get the nomination. They had previously pointed to John Hurt's Best Actor nomination in "The Elephant Man", in which the only visible feature of Hurt was his eyes after the elaborate makeup and costuming, but even then, Hurt did not win, he himself believing that it would be hard to connect the real actor to the role that he played. Salon suggests that the Academy needs to seriously consider how digital technology is affecting the way movies are being made and to be more open to non-traditional roles and films as potental Oscar material."

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but they can't stop.... (-1, Offtopic)

danoatvulaw (625376) | more than 11 years ago | (#5326965)

... the first post!

Academy needs to seriously consider (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5326969)

blah blah who gives a shit is an organization awards its own members a prize?
When do we get to vote?

Re:Academy needs to seriously consider (1)

josephgrossberg (67732) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327032)

Ugh. Do you think that would be better? Talk about a popularity contest.

Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5326973)

"Sssssallllonnnnn yessssss... can't pay rent, no!!! Kicked out of officessss ssssoooon! Homelessssss... poor poor homelesssss... Sssssaallllon."

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327041)

they have survived longer than any other online magazine without a print version. find me a COMPLETELY independent online magazine started in 1995, and i'll eat my hat.

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327064)

And? What? They should get a cookie? It's like telling that last T-Rex congrats on outliving all the others shortly before he died, too.

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327104)

no, not a cookie. but recognition as being the only independent online (original content) magazine that has survived. (well, the only one with traffic to speak of)

if you're not aware what advantages an independently-run press brings, then you're missing my point.

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327125)

It's a lovely notion and all, but when they blow through so much cash (millions!), money that could've lasted MUCH longer, I don't have any sympathy for them. Why have a huge office in San Francisco? They could work just as easily in a much cheaper city, such as St. Louis.

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327235)

millions in the way of a publication is NOTHING. they didn't BLOW thru any cash. they have always operated leanly, and managed to pay writers what they are worth. they didn't/don't have outrageous rooftop parties, expensive perks, or anything else remotely like what other dot-com era companies had.

they managed to stay alive on a subscription business model for this long, which is more than i can say for ANY publication on the web with original daily content. ESPN.com couldn't do it, as many others.

whether you like salon or not, credit is due to them for surviving as long as they did. when the economy changed, they adapted.

they were one of the first to embrace open source technologies...and I mean embrace, not just webserving. they were the first to publish original content that other publications wouldn't.

they remain (whether they closed their doors or not) as the ONLY independently run online publication.

for some perspective, USA today was in the deep red for *FIVE* years before they turned one profit, and is STILL not recognized as either original or of high reputation.

Dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327168)

Posts like yours are the only reason Slashdot is still worth skimming through.

Re:Gollum on Salon's failed business venture (1)

dmanny (573844) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327238)

How many others tried submitting the story of Salon's status to /.? I heard about it on NPR. Normally NPR lags /. but not this time.

Your post is a very funny way of bringing up this story.

A shame... (5, Funny)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5326980)

...and now we'll never get to hear Serkis thank "his precious" for helping him win in the acceptance speech.

Re:A shame... (1)

javatips (66293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327159)

He will have another chance next year...

animation/oscars (0, Flamebait)

josephgrossberg (67732) | more than 11 years ago | (#5326982)

Do they have a separate category for animation? Perhaps that's what he should have been in, after all the SFX.

P.S. FP.

Ricky Martin Is My Cousin (3, Insightful)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327154)

These are the categories that already exist which could satisfy your suggestion:

* Best Visual Effects

But I think you're missing the point - giving an award to the producers of the Two Towers for best visual effects or some new category involving animation is not the same as giving Serkis an Oscar for his performance. You're suggesting a general Oscar for the entire crew whereas New Line wants Serkis to get an individual performance actor. The question is whether Serkis deserves an Oscar for his performance alone. Now perhaps the addition of best Digital Performance/Inspiration could give Serkis a category that would fit what he did. Since he did have help from the CG team.

But, on the other hand, actors have their costumes selected for them so, in a way, they have a team behind their performances as well. And wasn't Serkis really just placed in a cool costume?

technology and voice (2, Interesting)

NetMagi (547135) | more than 11 years ago | (#5326986)

This is a real toss-up because it's the seamless integration of his voice acting WITH the rendering of the character. .. He didn't do all that himself. . One is useless without the other. Maybe they should nominate "teams" in the case of dig-characters. .or have a seperate award.

It wasn't just the voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5326999)

His acting provided the model for the animation. He's a much bigger part of Gollum than the voice.

Re:It wasn't just the voice (3, Interesting)

NetMagi (547135) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327061)

Admittedly I didn't realize this, but it's still not clear cut like a classic acting role in a film.

I think rather than continuing to just ignore roles like this that "don't fit" into a category, they should do SOMETHING. .or have a special award for this . .

Re:It wasn't just the voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327085)

Some would argue it's a pretty thin line between this (computer animation on top of an actor) and an actor in heavy makeup.

Re:It wasn't just the voice (1)

NetMagi (547135) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327111)

Right, and that's my point. .if you don't know where to draw the line. .don't pretend you don't need to or just ignore the nomination as a possibility.

That's my point.

It's fair it gets ignored because they "don't know" if there is a line, or where to draw it.

Re:It wasn't just the voice (4, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327234)

I think rather than continuing to just ignore roles like this that "don't fit" into a category, they should do SOMETHING. .or have a special award for this . .

Best Voice / Digitally Enhanced Acting Performance. That would also let actors from animated films get a chance.

Re:technology and voice (2, Insightful)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327018)

But how often are there these characters? Maybe if it got popular/big enough, they might.

I guess a category isn't a category, a competition isn't a competition, unless you have the people to fill it.

Maybe an honorary mentioning then?

Re:technology and voice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327272)

Because all operating systems are written by programmers, I assume that any operating system is much smarter than me. Thus, any good operating system should try to outsmart me by restricting my options at every turn. Linux, like all versions of Unix, is lousy at restricting my options because at the command line virtually any operation can be performed with ease. (For example, 'rm -rf /win' could 'delete an entire mounted directory, with no popup window warnings whatsoever.)

I'm proud to say that there is no such danger in XP. Windows pop up when I want to make a change, and then more pop up to ask if I'm sure I want the change. Thankfully, Windows XP looks after my computer's well-being by occasionally switching configuration settings from the way I want them to what the OS programmers think they might probably ought to be. Boy, I'm just impressed with how smart they are. Once I learned to live with whatever the default settings are on any new hardware I install, I can't say the number of hours I have saved.

I use that spare time to reboot my Windows XP machine multiple times a day. Technical support personnel recommend that I do it regularly-- kind of like brushing my teeth. To help remind me of this necessity, windows pop up to tell me to reboot whenever I make a configuration change. By now my machine is minty fresh, I figure.

There is no such useful rebooting in a Linux system. It is as reliable as the sunrise, with uptimes in weeks, months and years. Virtually no configuration change requires a reboot, to boot. Imagine all that plaque in the computer. Gross!

In XP I am prevented from making dangerous fundamental configuration changes unless I use a special "registry editor". I have found it so useful to have this separate editor that I hope in future versions they go all the way and supply a separate editor for each file on the disk-- in that way windows could pop up at every keystroke to warn me that changing any line in the file I am editing could cause the system to not run properly. If this were only the case, people would finally learn that it is best to just stick with the mouse and they would be freed of the need to constantly move their hands back to the keyboard. (If one stops to think about it, the mouse is a much better device to use than the keyboard. Ever hear of someone getting carpal tunnel syndrome from a mouse? No. It's comfortable and ergonomic. Like Morse code devices. That's how long distance communication started, after all.)

Linux, by contrast, requires no special editor to change configuration files. The fact that there is no "registry" in Linux allows the abomination of using any text editor whatsoever to do the configuration. Can you believe that configuration files are usually stored clear text? Talk about dangerous!

I am also happy to report that I have experienced no truth to the rumor that Windows disks become corrupt after improper shutdowns. Indeed, I have been forced to improperly shutdown the machine innumerable times after it locks up, and I have no apparent problems to report regarding the disk. No such claim can be made for Linux. They say something about lack of data points. Excuses are all I ever seem to hear from the Linux crowd.

By sheer size alone, Windows XP beats Linux hands down. It is so much bigger, it is _obvious_ that it is better. Why would you want a small OS with the large disks and RAM sizes we have these days? For this reason alone, I heartily recommend Windows as a way to maximize resource utilization. Your CPU and disk will constantly be pegged to the limit, the way god intended. The Linux kernel and drivers accounts for only about 750KB. Why, even the Microsoft Win16 subsystem uses more space than that.

It is no surprise that Windows XP costs $300 on the retail market and Linux doesn't cost anything. People know what they want, and they want Windows XP. Because Linux is free, that means it's basically worthless. The same goes for all the development tools, remotable GUIs, and applications, which all cost money for Windows (i.e., are worth something) and free for Linux (worthless!).

Installing software is very easy in Windows XP. I usually slip in CDs without even reading instructions or warnings, and just double click on whatever window pops up. There is no need to read anything or touch the keyboard. (Did I mention that I hate that thing?) Well, OK, I have learned the hard way the machine locks up if I don't take the time to close all other applications.

Linux, by contrast, requires typing on the keyboard to get anything to install at all. And you always have to know the NAME of program you want to install. For example, in Slackware, you have to type "pkgtool" to install a program. Linux needs to get with the 21st century!

Windows XP follows the DOS convention of putting \r\n at the end of every line of a text file. While this is only a mild concern because of the relative rarity of text files on Windows machines these days-- thank god--it helps to differentiate between the text files and the other files. Sadly, Linux makes no distinction between text and other files.

If I legitimately purchase Windows XP, I can call Microsoft customer support to get help with my problems. After a short hold time of an hour or so, they always help me. Ever since I told them that I was dual booting to Linux, they were able to flag my account and now each time I call even the entry level support personnel I am connected to say that Linux is the source of my problems. Everyone seems to agree that Linux is no good. The more I listen, the more I'm impressed with the knowledge of the support staff there.

By contrast, in Linux, all I have is stockpiles of resources and documentation that I would actually have to read in order to understand. Sure, I could obtain Linux support from a commercial organization, but they would probably just tell me I have to use a text editor to fix up my system.

In the end, I have no need for that old computer donkey Unix. I don't need to run big Unix tasks, after all. I refuse to become one of those a bug-eyed computer users, that's for sure. As soon as I can keep Windows XP from crashing for long enough, I'm going to delete my Linux partition, i.e., the equivalent of moving it to the Recycle Bin, saying that I'm sure, emptying the Recycle Bin, and again saying that I'm sure I want to empty it.

Re:technology and voice (4, Informative)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327040)

He did more than just voice act. He also made all the necessary movments etc and then the special effects were placed on top of him. More like digital makeup on an actor than a fully digital creation ala Jar Jar.

Re:technology and voice (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327208)

AFAIK, Jar Jar wasn't really fully digital in any sense distinguishable from Serkis' performance. ILM used Ahmed Best's movements to help them model the way Jar Jar's clothes would move, for instance.

Re:technology and voice (3, Funny)

dmanny (573844) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327266)

Ah but Jar Jar's repugnance must have been digitally enhanced. Look at the difference in public reception between these two.

Re:technology and voice (4, Informative)

zephc (225327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327191)

the digital makeup (as mentioned above) is not at all unlike any other kind of costume and makeup. I mean, if women in the 80s can cream their panties over the otherwise homey Ron Perlman as The Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast', and he was covered with a great deal of makeup, then why can't people recognize digital-on-actor is just another form of makeup?

On Slashdot, subscribers work for CMDRTACO! (-1, Offtopic)

Old Ike (637987) | more than 11 years ago | (#5326988)

That's right. Read his journal (here [slashdot.org] )

He's thinking of allowing paying readers to read stories in advance, so they can PROOFREAD and CHECK FOR DUPES (which should be HIS job) before the stories go live. Paying readers will also get to see sites before they're slashdotted.


The benefits of paying for slashdot:

1) You get features that don't actually work (extended histories, etc.)
2) You are expected to proofread and dupe-check stories ('cause Rob's so busy, ya know) so that unpaying readers can read stuff without problems.

That's totally fucking backwards, Taco, you shithead.

He's also totally aware of the Slashdot effect. Instead of doing something about it (i.e. developing a cache), he's just skirting it. How totally irresponsible.

Taco, your site is shit. Your staff is shit. Your program is shit. Please wise up.

-MondoMor (read more [http] )

It's genius! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327023)

It's so backwards... it might just work!

CmdrTaco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5326989)

Just Shut Up!!!

Oscars have VERY little to do with quality anyway (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5326991)

The academy also has a built-in bias against the films that prove popular. After all, if "the mob" likes it, it can't *really* be quality. The oscars have become a way for Hollywood to spruce up films that you couldn't drag your dog to and pretend they are worthy of notice so they'll pick up a few of the bucks left over after the rest of us have gone to see the GOOD stuff.

Re:Oscars have VERY little to do with quality anyw (1)

Guipo (591513) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327151)

Did you see titanic? The only reason that peice of crap won is because of how popular it was.

The Oscars have very little to do with good movies, and more to do with hollywood stars patting themselves on the back.


Re:Oscars have VERY little to do with quality anyw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327248)

Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator... Gladiator?? The oscars are all about popular crap. Usually they'll toss a bone and give a nomination to an exceptional "darkhorse" for best picture. They'll never win but are usually far more worthy of 2 and half hours of your life than the ones that do.

Re:Oscars have VERY little to do with quality anyw (2, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327233)

The academy is a Hollywood self-imposed export product that feeds their super-star industrial machine.

It is and old money debutante ball, showcasing the approved younger inhertees for the geezers who made their productless industry from cheap agricultural land.

The reason stuff like this never wins (other than the fact that it sometimes does suck) is because digital effects are too cutting edge and threatening to this old order.

I agree with the original poster. Oscars is about extra hype to sell more films.

That, and looking down at the peasantry while they showcase their kings and queens of the new world order, who enjoy unreasonable fame and money at our expense, all the while being puppetered by the unseen assholes of hollywood, who vote with their money and financial interests.

Computers means actors could be made and rendered outside of hollywood in other countries like China and their voices emailed as MP3 (yes, too simple to be functional, i know, just trying to be vivid) - but the fact is that it threatens to return these fake monarchists back to their hay, grain, bananas and pineapples farming ways.

That's funny, critics are complaining. . . (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327260)

just the opposite. The Acadamy largely refuses to recognize good films that aren't popular. Mr. Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival for just this reason.

I think you're confusing a bias against popular films (like, say, Gone With the Wind, Oscar winner, most popular of all time, and really bit of a piece of crap) with a bias against Burt Reynolds.


nomination (0, Redundant)

AyeFly (242460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327000)

Its a shame that he lost his preciousssssssssssssss nomination. He still was part of the character, Gollom's movements & voice were from the actor.

Ah who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327005)

Salon is dying anyway.

Re:Ah who cares (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327065)

salon has been "dying" for almost three years now. yet they don't. it's because they have put up the best fight to stay alive than any other online magazine. it's in people's best interest that they DO stay alive.

Re:Ah who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327230)

Here's a helpful tip for Salon: MOVE OUT OF ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES IN THE COUNTRY. You don't have to have an office there just for the "cool" factor.

Re:Ah who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327271)

they're not there just for the "cool" factor. they started there because it was actually CHEAPER than any other major city. it was cheaper than chicago, LA, NYC, and yes....even St Louis.

try relocating an entire company after years of being in one place, and still maintaining the same staff.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327251)

It is official; NASDAQ now confirms: Salon.comis dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered websize community when the Wall Street Journal confirmed that Salon.com's market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Publisher's Clearinghouse survey which plainly states that Salon.com has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Salon.com is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by
failing dead last [goatse.cx] in the recent "Websites I Like to Wank To" test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Salon.com's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Salon.com faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Salon.com because Salon.com is dying. Things are looking very bad for Salon.com. As many of us are already aware, Salon.com continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Jennifer Reiter's "Nothing Personal" is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core celebrity sycophants. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time social critics George Plimpton and Carrot Top only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Salon is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Slate.com's editor Michael Kinsley states that there are 7000 readers of Slate. How many readers of Salon are there? Let's see. The number of James Carville/Kinsley slash fiction stories versus Carino Chocano nude photos on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Carina Chocano fans. Salon.com posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of alt.furry posts. Therefore there are about 700 readers of Salon. A recent article put Arianna Huffington's column at about 80 percent of the market for pictures of colonoscopies. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 creditors of the company. This is consistent with the number of full page advertisements Salon runs.

Due to the troubles of Iraq, abysmal sales and so on, The Well went out of business and was taken over by Fark.com who use it to post pictures of naked ferrets. Now Table Talk is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Salon.com has steadily declined in market share. Salon is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Salon is to survive at all it will be among mushy-headed liberal wankers. Salon continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Salon is dead.

Fact: Salon is dying

The Academy (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327007)

The Academy Awards long ago ceased to be about who was most deserving to win or be nominated. If indeed they ever were about that at all. They are not much more than a cliquish popularity contest and a way to make political statements.

In a way this mirrors the failure of the recording industry to 'get it' in our rapidly changing times. The entrenched establishment of the music and movie industry is so hidebound that nothing short of dramatic reform (i.e. tear it all down and start over) will probably fix it.

As CGI and other digital effects become more and more commonplace, there will have to be a change in perception by the Academy (aside: Do they teach something? I thought Academies were teaching institutions???) or they will become increasingly irrelelvant. Already, to many movie lovers, the Oscars are more of a joke than anything else.

Just my not so humble opinion. Your milage may vary.


Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327095)


Missing Body Troll (651414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327215)

You have violated the Slashdot ToS. The body is a very important part of the comment system. Without it, you end up with chaos-- like kuro5hin.org.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327263)

Some of us DO have very good jobs, thank you very much. Do you? Oh, they probably don't let you work from the institution because of all the meds...

I agree but I'll add more (5, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327134)

I completely agree with what you said but I'd go a step further and state that I think the whole idea of awards for movies and other art seems bizarre and way too subjective. Supposedly, top talent have chosen to make movies because they love the artform. So why would an award be meaningful to them? Awards are useful in athletic competitions but are they truly appropriate for art? I would argue that they are not. The creative talent in Hollywood (please don't snicker) should find that the chance to make art they think is meaningful and appreciated by others is reward enough. A golden statue and lavous ceremony should not be necessary.

We are then stuck with the question: why do we have award ceremonies (and so damn many of them as well)? I submit to you that the reason is purely popularity, politics and marketing as dreamchaser said. I don't give a damn about the Oscars and, quite frankly, I don't understand why anyone else does either.


Re:I agree but I'll add more (4, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327165)

The reason we still have awards ceremonies is simple. It makes money for the industry. If people stop watching then two things happen. One, no more advertising revenue. Two, no more manipulative tool to get people to go see movies that they wouldn't have otherwise seen ('Gee, it was nominated for five awards, it must be good, I'll go see it!').

Good points. You should be modded up!

Re:I agree but I'll add more (4, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327264)

Supposedly, top talent have chosen to make movies because they love the artform. So why would an award be meaningful to them? Awards are useful in athletic competitions but are they truly appropriate for art?

Acting awards go back to the 6th century or at worst early 5th century BC. That's right, BC. The terms "protagonist" and "antagonist" go back to the technical Greek terms for the first and second actors of a tragedy or comedy; there were prizes for the best protagonist (as well as for the best 4-play tragic production or 1-play comic production).

may be best digitally animated character.... (1, Interesting)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327011)

but seriously best actor ...?
come on guys, be serious here, acting has a lot to do with facial expressions, and body language and these are not effective when done by animated characters no matter how reallistic they look
may be oscar should start a seperate catagory for animated characters, or may be best vocal performance for ppl who do the talking but best actor ?
what next nominate peter jackson for noble prize ?

John Wayne Is My Cousin (3, Interesting)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327063)

Well, first of all - New Line was championing for best supporting actor so I am wondering if you read the article. If you're not just trolling, then read on. Otherwise, good show.

As it stated, the way CG characters were handled in the past was that they were thrown in during post-production so that the person responsible for the movement and whatnot wasn't really involved in the scene at the time it was being shot. Jackson took a different approach during the filming and actually had Serkis involved in the process while it was being shot.

The Academy is a little too uppity to throw in new categories until they've already become such an obvious addition that their lack of addition becomes a controversy. The Oscars are really more of a salute to Hollywood's aging stars than rewarding innovative work. [I know that's a generalization and it's not always true - but for the most part it is.]

Best character, period (5, Informative)

Artful Codger (245847) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327108)

You're wrong. Read up on how they did Gollum.

The actor was in about all his scenes, and it's essentially his face you see in the movie. Mostly live sound, too. The actor wore a body suit with indexing marks which were later used as guides for the body animation.

So yes, the actor did perform on-camera, including face, and body movements, and deserves most of the credit for the Gollum performance. CGI just changed the body and reanimated some movements.

Definately the Academy has to accomodate this type of performance. Regardless, in this case the actor was superb, CGI or not.

Re:may be best digitally animated character.... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327232)

come on guys, be serious here, acting has a lot to do with facial expressions, and body language and these are not effective when done by animated characters no matter how reallistic they look

Many people think that a CG character's performance is created from scratch on a computer; this is not the case. Usually, the scene is filmed first with the voice actor standing in - this gives the live actors an idea of what to expect, and how to react. The voice actor is actually there, in the scene, acting their part. Then the scene is shot again without the voice actor, the voice is recorded seperately, and the whole thing is sent to the animation team. The animation of the CG character is done to closely match the performance of the voice actor. Why? Because real people do things that aren't scripted. They shift their weight, scratch an itch, gesture, change their expressions, etc. CG characters don't do any of these things unless each tiny movement is created deliberately by the animation team. By modeling the CG character after the voice actor, they capture these subtleties. So yes, the voice actor is actually acting, and their performance does contribute to the movie.

I was very impressed by Gollum, and I think the performance is worthy of recognition.

By the way, did you know that in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, in a few shots Obi-Wan Kenobi was a digital CG character?

Re:may be best digitally animated character.... (1)

coke_dite (643074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327268)

Are you saying that Gollum's facial movements and expressions were ineffectual? Did you *watch* said movie? C'mon now. That was the most fantastic piece of CGI animation I've EVER seen, and I used to work in the biz. It was a stroke of genius on Peter Jackson's part, and the results would have been very different if it had been another actor instead of Serkis. With Gollum's creation, you have Serkis's movements, his facial expressions (transposed onto Gollum's face, granted, but he did all the motions first) and his acting style. It's not like a cartoon character who is 100% invented. Serkis worked damn hard to make Gollum, and it's a slap in the face that the Academy won't acknowledge his work in some way. The man's not a technician, he's an actor.

a** kissers (4, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327015)

"despite the pressure that Peter Jackson and others placed on the Academy to get the nomination"

I do think he should get a nomination, but aren't these things supposed to be related to actual performance by the actor compared to his contemporaries, and not crooked lobbying?

Re:a** kissers (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327129)

aren't these things supposed to be related to actual performance by the actor compared to his contemporaries, and not crooked lobbying?


Re:a** kissers (5, Funny)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327141)

aren't these things supposed to be related to actual performance by the actor compared to his contemporaries, and not crooked lobbying?

No, that's the other Academy of Motion Pictures you're thinking of. You know, the one that doesn't exist.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327017)

Salon suggests that the Academy needs to seriously consider how digital technology is affecting the way movies are being made and to be more open to non-traditional roles and films as potental Oscar material.

Non-traditional films makers need to seriously consider how pointless these Oscar Academy awards are and not pay any attention to them.

Tron (4, Insightful)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327024)

Tron wasn't nominated for an Oscar in visual effects because it used computers and wasn't animated. Andy Serkis wasn't nominated this time, but people will be nominated one day.

Re:Tron (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327139)

actually, not being nominated raises it in my eyes. I've seen some of the crap they do nominate. granted not all of it sucks, but it is far from an indication of good or bad quality

The actor *made* the character (4, Insightful)

Gerp (20138) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327025)

For me, the very things which made gollum have such a big impact on the movie were provided by the actor. The emotion, the delivery, the facial expressions and the movement were all provided solely by the actor - I think this makes Andy valid for an oscar nomination. It's altogether different to the usual voice-over stuff that Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks have pulled off so well in the past for truly computer generated characters.

Seiyuu (2, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327026)

They ought to have a best voice actor category. Acting involves actual expression with the body and face, while voice acting is giving life to a fake character, much like muppeteering. (not in a negative context. Jim Henson and Frank Oz rock)

Re:Seiyuu (1)

Eimi Metamorphoumai (18738) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327178)

While they probably should have a voice acting category, that isn't what this is. Because of all the motion capture stuff, he WAS doing actually expression with the body and face, and it was those expressions we saw on screen. Granted, they were run through a computer so that we never actually saw him, but fundamentally it was his acting that made gollum who he was. Put another way, if the actor had been shown in makeup, he would have done just as good a job, and if a less talented actor had been behind the cgi, we would have ended up with Jar-Jar.

Used as the model?!? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327027)

"on the failure for Andy Serkis, the actor that used as the model and voice for Gollum in The Two Tower"

He was used as the model? My god...

My prediction for the next story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327028)

Interviews: Dave Barry Answers Alert Slashdot Readers' Questions

Where in hell did Masem learn to write? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327035)

Go back to school, buddy.

So what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327036)

It's not like he ever did anything worth a damn. He deserves everything that he's getting--nothing.

And once again... (-1, Redundant)

kentyman (568826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327037)

Gollum is denied of his preciousss...

A Good thing (-1, Flamebait)

Gyan (6853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327039)

that Serkis wasn't nominated.

Providing expressions to a mesh is quite different than acting out the same expressions in person. It looks plausible acting on a digital creature, not on a real human.

Serkis' "acting" doesn't mean much by itself.

And we care because.... ? (0, Flamebait)

kevlar (13509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327049)

Does anyone care? I know I don't. The "Academy" is just a bunch of agenda biased rich people, much like the Nobel prize committee. I have rarely felt that anyone winning an Oscar had actually earned it because they were particularly talented, versus luck of being on the receiving end of a publicity campaign...

IN SOVIET RUSSIA!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327066)

Only good actors get nominations. ...and they nominate YOU!!!

Five Words: The Return Of The King (2, Insightful)

Levendis47 (90899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327067)

Gollum/Serkis will have a second chance at an Oscar nod... Perhaps building momentum in the press and creating a cause is the best the WETA-gang could hope for in this round...?

Next it'll be "Meet The Feebles 2: Feebles Invade America" rallying for Academy recognition... 8^)


Why not a special Oscar? (3, Insightful)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327073)

To be fair to the academy this is new territory, and it would be difficult to distinguish between what Serkis accomplished, and what voice actors do for animated movies. Having said that, James Baskett won a special oscar for his performance in "Song of the South" wherein he interacted with animated characters. Why can't Serkis get the same treatment?

Re:Why not a special Oscar? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327130)

Its entirely possible that they may give him a special award. Its not like they announce nominations for special awards, since it takes the suprise out...

Re:Why not a special Oscar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327217)

Yeah, like a Jerry's Oscar.

Well, what IS an actor? (4, Interesting)

jpnews (647965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327080)

This has been coming on for a couple of years, and I suspect that it's only going to get murkier in the near future.

It's time to ask the question: What IS an actor? Strictly speaking, I'd say that the voice and visual inspiration for a digital character is, in fact, an actor. However, the final onscreen character is the result of many people toiling away in many different jobs. The animator, the designer, the painter, the guy who runs the mocap studio... they all have a hand in it. Perhaps the academy simply needs a new category. Best digital actor, or something similar. Certainly all the work put into something like Gollum deserves more than an fx nomination!

Why do they care about awards? (1)

addaboy (103441) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327086)

i mean awards are nice and all, but to me I'd care more about what my fans thought about my performance. These award shows are all politics anyways. I wouldn't waste my time lobbying the oscar voters, screw it.

Teamwork (5, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327091)

It's remarkable that Serkis did both the (incredible) voice work and (astounding) physical performance. There will be more characters like Gollum over the years, but they're unlikely to match Serkis' incredible range. You'll have a dancer for the body, a rubber-face for the face, a voice actor for the voice, and so on. It's rare to encounter so much talent in one person.

This is a golden moment for the Academy to honor an astounding performance the likes of which we may never see again.

I can't hold it against them too much: for the most part the Academy wouldn't recognize good acting if it walked up and bit them. They too often honor "showy" acting, largely one-dimensional with huge emotional swings and featured parts, that are actually built on a combination of music, camera work, editing, and a host of other factors outside the performance itself.

I'm an actor myself, and IMHO on film you can see only a performance, not an actor. That's good: you're not supposed to be watching the acting. The hard work of acting is accomplished where you can't see it, in rehearsal rooms and in the actor's bathroom, in front of the mirror, and in long talks with fellow actors at the bar worrying about each syllable, on set finding the right tone not just for you but for everybody in a scene. All of which can be lost by different editing, direction, a music choice going the other way, or another actor taking a different choice.

I applaud Serkis' work, and I want to see if he has range as well as talent. I'm sorry the Academy chose not to honor him, and that's always going to hurt no matter how meaningless the award and no matter how thunderous the accolades from the people whose opinions really do matter.

Wouldn't be fair. (3, Interesting)

kid zeus (563146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327093)

Putting aside for a moment that the Oscars are absolute garbage awards that have no bearing on the artistic worth of the films they award, this topic isn't so tough a question to answer to me. Personally, I think that maybe they need a Best Voice Actor award, and that perhaps that would be the best category for Serkis in this case. Acting is more than speaking, it includes movement and posture as well. The fact that an entire team of people intepreted Serkis' performance and then modified it completely to suit their needs leads me to believe that it would be quite unfair to his competition to nominate him individually as an actor. They, the competition, had to rely on themselves to come up with convincing (or unconvincing as the case may be) physical performances. Maybe they need to have a Best Team Effort at Creating a Digital Actor award.

LOTR Will Kill Next Year (3, Insightful)

SpaceRook (630389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327100)

The genereral consensus in movie-land is that the "Return Of the King" film will be the one that really wins all the awards. Awarding Part 3 will be seen as rewarding the whole series. So, I think Gollum has a good chance of getting nominated next year.

Bad omen (5, Funny)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327102)

This does not bode well for the new character being introduced in The Return of the King [bbspot.com] who is also digitally generated.

Re:Bad omen (4, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327214)

Wesa gonna savda hobbits? Mui-mui! I love you! Oi! Whatsa meya saying?!?

The problem with CGI + Human acting (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327114)

While in general, I agree that characters such as Gollum are deserved of praise, giving the underlying actor credit is a little hard to do. A huge part of what can make a scene so dramatic is gestures (including facial expressions).

How much of Gollum's facial expressions were Serkis and how much was CGI? Could we ever know? I suppose those that are nominating could watch the film without the CGI enhancements to see the actor's portion of the performance but that creates a whole new set of problems.

In the end, I suspect that a new category is going to be developed for just such a role. Best CGI Enhanced Character or some such thing could work. Who should receive the award though? The actor or the animator (assuming it isn't just software controlled).

When you watch the Oscars... (1)

DwarfGoanna (447841) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327117)

Ask yourself how relevant they really are anymore. One thing I have come to realize is what a sham this force-fed pop culture is. The Oscars are like top 40 radio, or psuedo-reality shows on TV. Big money and strange corporate consortiums pour this shit in a trough for the sheep to eat. I think we are going to see a split between the people that realize this (most of this readership, I would think) and the people who don't.

I can't wait for the day movies accumulate whuffie instead of canned praises from the people that produced them. =)

(And yes, I just finished reading k5)

Good Stuff doesn't ever get Nominated (1, Insightful)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327123)

*Begin Rant*
The last time an actual deserving movie that the movie going public actually enjoyed, got nominated for anything was the orignal "Star Wars"...I'm sorry, but best picture, and best actor, etc should have at least something to do with the films appeal to the masses. If the general public from 9 to 90, Male, Female, White, Black, Yellow, Red, Green whatever isn't interested its not a good film, and doesn't deserve awards. The truth of the matter is all these awards are about self-indulence and self congratulations for the Holloywood in crowd. Its the equivilent of masterbation...if you don't play with the in crowd and join the jerk circle you don't get the big nominations. The "Lord of the Rings" Movies for the most part look and feel exactly like the books always appeared in my head...that should count for something, however it doesn't because of the Masterbation appeal of the other movies that did get nominations(which btw I personally feel most of them cheated with limited releases just before the deadline so slip under the nomination wire)...

*End Rant*

But, LOTR was nominated... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327172)

For Best Picture [oscar.com] .

Re:But, LOTR was nominated... (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327195)

True however what are its actual chances of winning (Hint: if you use that number in divison you computer will throw and error)

James Brown Is My Cousin (4, Insightful)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327240)

That last one was Star Wars? I think not. If you're judging whether the movie deserves a nomination based on what the public enjoyed, allow me to give you a list [all post-Star Wars]

Titantic - took the Oscar and was a huge commercial success - maybe you didn't like it but you talked about what the public enjoyed. This was in 1997.
Braveheart - took the Oscar and was also a huge commercial success for the year 1995.
Forrest Gump - another huge commercial success that also won an Oscar - 1994.

I could continue but I think I've made my point. You're claiming that movies which are nominated for best picture haven't been commercial successes. This is incredibly false as I've shown by just showing which huge commercial movies have WON the Best Picture Oscar.

Next time you rant, make a little sense.

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327126)

i would support fully an initiative like this ..
but you have to admit the actual acting job for
the gollum wasn't all that great .. that schizo
scene particularly was stomach turning .. i prefer
a little more subtlety. i realize that hollywood
believes audiences are mostly stupid and need to
be hit with a brick to get them to understand
things, but i'm not sure if this is entirely true ..

rage against the dumbing down of america

And this is surprising? (2, Interesting)

HorrorIsland (620928) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327140)

I expect most members of the Academy see digital characters as a threat to their jobs. Digital characters don't need make-up, hair styling, or costumes. They don't need stunt men, or props. They don't need camera men or lighting designers - or, if they do, they need them to have very different skills.

Maybe some actors like the idea of "modeling" for a digital character; probably a lot of directors are intrigued by the possibilities. But I bet the majority of the Academy members hate the whole idea.

Super Mario Brothers: A Literary Criticism (3, Funny)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327150)

Shigeru Miyamoto's masterwork Super Mario Brothers is truly a classic work of modern literature; borrowing heavily from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and an obvious inspiration for Trainspotting, SMB shows the initial joy but the eventual mental and moral decline due to drugs.

Like in classic Greek drama, much of the story is implied. Because the setting is not a part of our common mythos, however, it comes with a small supplemental text which fills in the history for the reader: the evil dragon Bowser Koopa (a metaphor for a kingpin) has invaded a once-propserous kingdom, and those residents who did not join him and become goombas (the local slang for dealers) were turned into blocks - that is, they were embedded in concrete, to sleep with the fishes, as it were.

Enter Mario, the fallen hero. At the very outset of his adventure, he is doomed, as almost right away he steals a dealer's mushroom (obviously mixed with peyote) and begins to hallucinate, that he is big, that he is powerful. As though on PCP, he finds it easy to break solid bricks by punching it and does not perceive the pain; however, when dealers, pushers (personified by turtles much like Thompson's literal lounge lizards), and other minions of the kingpin cause him pain (in retaliation for his original drug theft), he immediately loses the empowering effects of the peyote, and in fact, seems very small and vulnerable, and must desparately seek out another hit. When he is not seeking out a hit of peyote, he is seeking out much more powerful stuff indeed - a flower (the opium-giving poppy) or a star (a hit of LSD), both of which further his delusions of being strong and powerful.

Right after he has apparently slid down a flagpole (a strong reference to receiving anal sex), he finds himself in the proverbial sewers, already feeling a deep low from his initial hits wearing off. But after more anal sex, he is high in the mountains, which psychadelically appear as gigantic mushrooms, an obvious result of his hallucinatory state. And then, after even more anal sex, he finds himself in a castle, but it is of his own imagination, built up of his drug-induced isolation, for at the end he thinks he has confronted the kingpin Koopa, but he quickly finds that it is but another hallucination, merely a pusher goomba, though he only discovers this after, in a drug-crazed rage, he kills this apparition of his nemesis.

His trials and travails continue along his slide into dementia, with such powerful imagery as being underwater (drowning in desparation) and along a long suspension bridge with flying fish (skirting death at every corner). After chapter 3, which describes a night of terrors, and chapter 4, another full day, he finds himself in another castle delusion, but this time he is so hopelessly lost in his mind that it appears to him as a maze, where if he does not climb the correct stairs in the right order, he is trapped and seems to endlessly repeat the pathway.

Much more of the same continues, showing the repetition and mental deadness of a drug-induced haze, with some intermediate powerful imagery as a landscape so bleak and gray that it appears to be frozen, causing our fallen hero to psychosomatically slip on what seems to be ice. At many points, he is also unwittingly caught up in drug-related urban warfare, bullets careening across the landscape, although in Mario's stupor, the inanimate metal slugs appear to be living, almost sentient things.

Finally, he enters a final castle which appears to be real, but it is quickly apparent that it is not, for it is filled with all of his prior hallucinations, but twisted into much more nightmarish images, again arranged in a maze as some of the castle-hallucination-nightmares before (although this time with the strong symbolism of the magic number 3), and at the end, when he finally destroys what he believes to be the kingpin Koopa and rescues who he believes to be the princess, it becomes obvious to the reader (though not to Mario, still in a state of dementia) that he was only a hapless pimp and the "princses" his whore, who (at our hero's expense) direct him to start his hapless Quixotic quest from the beginning, only this time, all the drug dealers are wearing bullet-proof jackets (who have appeared as gigantic beetles to our hallucinogenic hero all along).

And so, the cycle of depravity begins anew, but much more difficultly for our pathetically-pathos-pumped plumber.

Of course, this plot summary only begins to scratch the surface of this epic novel. One really must complete it on their own in order to truly appreciate its depth and challenge, trying to sort out what is real and what isn't.

There is, of course, a like-minded series following this book (although the immediate sequel is a blatant last-minute search and replace job on the cancelled Doki Doki Panic); there are also several TV adaptations, a movie (which completely missed the point and took major liberties with the plot), several spin-off series, and, at one time, there was even a breakfast cereal, in a monstrous twist of consumer-driven poetic irony. Regardless of this sensational consumerism, however, the original story has withstood the test of time, and will forever be a literary classic.

why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327176)

why bother with the oscars when they're awarded on such BS/political reasons and not on merit!

Maybe it's not the CGI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327177)

Has anyone considered that maybe the Academy just didn't think it was one of the top 5 supporting actor performances of the year? Not everybody gets a nomination, you know.

Why I couldn't possibly care less... (1)

mjh (57755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327188)

...because the entertainment industry is already overly self-congratulatory. How many different ways can the entertainment industry think of to pubically award themselves?
  • The Oscars
  • The Emmys
  • The Tonys
  • The Grammys
  • Best Male Lead
  • Best Male Supporting
  • Best Female Lead
  • Best Female Supporting
  • Best Donuts in trailer of supporting actor in an animated feature

In a way digital characters do recieve Awards (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327193)

I think awards are already given to "digital actors" - A) Special Effects for character animation are based (usually) on the person doing the voice over or a "real life object" B) Some of the "boring awards" we don't see, nominate or hand out awards for casting. All Pixar movies have been nominated for casting. I HONESTLY think the casting in Pixar movies has been genius. I doubt any other voices could have brought life to the chracters. C) The award is also sales. Billy Crystal's voice, John Goodman's Voice, Tom Hank's Voice sell - they are rewarded with big box office takes.

An actor that is upset because he/she isn't recognized has a self esteem problem not a recognition/nomination problem.

I wasn't surprised (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327196)

Regardless of how practical it is in the past few years I've seen a few pieces on completely virtual actors. I'm not sure how much say the actors have in the awards but I can see a lot of big actors being VERY displeased if he got a nomination fearing (whether or not it's realistic) that they may lose their jobs in the future to a completely virtual character. Plus I think it's a little too out there still. I think we need a couple more strong virtual performances for hollywood to take a chance on acknowledging one of them.

Oscars are rigged anyway. (0, Offtopic)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327198)

Just a bunch of Hollywood wierdo's sitting around patting themselves and each other on the back. Noit even worth watching anymore.


Salon in serious financial trouble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327204)

In a related note...Salon itself (the guys who wrote this article) are in serious financial straits.

Online Magazine Salon may be in its final days [bizjournals.com]

"'Salon will very likely cease operations in its current form if it is unable to raise additional working capital during February,' Salon Media Group Inc. says in its 10Q filing."

Keep an eye on this one...this may really be the end this time.

What? (0, Flamebait)

Colossus (9063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327257)

You have to be kidding me. Did I watch the same movie? Gollumn was pathetic. It could only impress a child, I mean come on. You are nuts if you were blown away by him or his performance. Maybe the performance was terific and the rendering was to blame? I can't belive anyone would even consider that. Why not give an Oscar to Goku. What a joke. Please explain this to me? This is really a joke right?

TRON snubbed too - the academy is slow (3, Interesting)

localman (111171) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327259)

I can't find the article right now, but if I remember correctly the academy refused to give TRON a special effects nomination because they "cheated" by using computers :)

Sounds like they're often a bit behind the times to me.


I've had better digital fx from the dick of a goat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327262)

I've had better digital effects from the dick of a goat.
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