Ever since Andy Serkis’ star turn as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, fans have been clamoring for the English actor to receive some awards recognition. While his motion-capture performance as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot series has been largely praised, each subsequent Oscar season has been a disappointment, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and sequel Dawn only receiving nominations for Best Visual Effects. But studio 20th Century Fox is making a push for the last Caesar-focused film to get noticed by the Academy.
According to Deadline, Fox is not only hoping to land an acting nomination (or possibly a “special award”) for Serkis, but also a highly coveted Best Picture nomination. The studio hopes to build up to this by campaigning for the technical and crafts categories, including cinematography, production design, sound and music. And with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) striving to be more diverse, Fox hopes to take advantage of the film’s “strong international appeal.”
We generally see “Oscar movies” release at the end of the calendar year—this gives studios the opportunity to make last-minute pushes for their possible Oscar contenders, and keep the films fresh in Academy members’ minds. Apes however, was a big summer blockbuster, so the challenge for Fox is to simply get Academy members to watch it. Fox has long been confident about their product, with early screenings before release, and sending director Matt Reeves to guild and Academy screenings to introduce the film.
For a long time, genre films have struggled to receive Oscar recognition—the snub of superhero film The Dark Knight for Best Picture is often cited as a main reason for the increase from five Best Picture nominees to up to 10. But there have always been exceptions, such as the technical awards sweep and Best Picture nomination for 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. And in a way, Fox is looking at The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as inspiration, also being the final film of an acclaimed trilogy, ultimately taking home several awards including the top prize.
The 90ths Academy Awards will air March 4, 2018, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Read our War for the Planet of the Apes review here.