Andy Serkis has become the public face of motion-capture technology and one of its biggest proponents. However, it seems that he also believe that a motion-capture performance is worthy of an Academy Award for acting.
Animator Tim Borrelli took issue with this and has crafted an open letter in response where he outlines why, if motion-capture is considered an “act”, then animators must also be considered “actors”.
It’s a very well written letter that does outline the fallacy of suggestion that motion-capture is really acting. Serkis’ stance is actually quite surprising, given the recent push to have motion-capture considered as animation. Thankfully, that campaign was rejected by the Academy, leaving motion-capture to inhabit a wasteland between live-action and animation.
Borrelli really does hit the nail on the head with this statement though:
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
He’s absolutely right, and that fact has been gnawing away at animators for years (even decades) because they are never recognised as being actors, even though they produce an acted “performance” (one frame at a time).