I don’t blame Andy Serkis for wishing he’d be eligible for acting awards. He hasn’t just pushed forward the use of motion-capture technology; he’s challenged the idea that the only thing that humans can convincingly and compellingly play is other human beings, which I think in the long run will help us develop, in particular, much more sophisticated science fiction.
But I think it’s impossible to nominate Serkis alone for an acting award, just as it would be inappropriate to nominate his effects team and not nominate him. Without Serkis, there’s no performance to build on top of, no facial expressions and no physicality to transform into something else. But without the effects team, there’s just a dude in a funny suit. It’s like nominating an actor’s bones but not his skin, or vice versa. And because the interdependence is so much deeper than, say, an actor and a makeup artist, or an actor and wardrobing, any solution that recognizes only half the team responsible for the performance isn’t really acceptable. It’s not like the use of motion capture’s going to decrease over time, so delaying some sort of definitive ruling will only make the clamor more intense, not less. Could you nominate an entire team for an acting award? It’s probably an imperfect solution, and I’d be curious to hear other thoughts. That people should get credit is an important principle — and not just in small, fast-running type at the end of credits sequences.