James Franco’s Oscar fight could bode well for digital game actors as well.

James Franco is understandably upset that his co-star’s work is not being recognized. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Andy Serkis plays Ceasar, the leader of the Ape rebellion and central character of the film. Franco argues that Serkis’s performance is aided but not defined by the technology that supports it; he says that it is more like “digital make-up or a prosthetic,” both of which are accepted by filmmakers and the Academy.

“Andy doesn’t need me to tell him he is an innovator, he knows it. What is needed is recognition for him, now. Not later when this kind of acting is de rigueur, but now, when he has elevated this fresh mode of acting into an art form.”

Franco makes some good points and this argument echoes of another Oscar snub. Tron, one of the most influential films in the history of visual effects was refused even a nomination because the creators had “cheated by using computers.”

Computers are now ubiquitous in creating visuals for both films and videogames and though Franco’s push may not be successful, it has brought the issue to many people’s attention. With more performances of this quality and technology, the respect it will be shown may even extend towards videogames like L.A. Noire which introduced a new standard of facial capture technology. 

– Adnan Agha