Could War for the Planet of the Apes be up for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards?
Possibly, if the studio’s campaign goes according to plan. 20th Century Fox is reportedly aiming to get War for the Planet of the Apes some Oscar love with the biggest awards campaign the franchise has ever seen since kicking off in 1968.
According to a report by Deadline, most of the categories – including Production Design, Cinematography, Costumes, Music, Sound and Visual Effects – will be targeted in the campaign, which will endeavour to highlight the film to Academy members (a number of which are relatively new). The plan is to start by earning noms and awards on the road to the Oscars, from perhaps critics groups or the SAG (Screen Actors Guild), so that it has the cred needed to not be ignored by voters.
There’s also the matter of getting members to watch the film in the first place. Apparently a couple of top awards consultants have been hired to ensure this happens; the studio is confident the film will grab them after that.
Apart from Best Picture, the major gongs Fox is aiming for include Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor. Director Matt Reeves has earned wide acclaim for his work here, his second Apes film following Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He also penned the script with Mark Bomback. Fox thinks it’s about time he gets noticed.
Speaking of someone finally getting noticed by the Academy; Andy Serkis will be pushed to voters for his outstanding performance as Caesar. The actor has long been praised for his motion-capture work, and this could be the perfect time to provide him with acting award recognition since War is the finale of his Apes trilogy. With mo-cap performances now more recognised, an acting Oscar nom for Serkis could set award precedence for the art form.
War for The Planet of the Apes producer and former Fox chief Peter Chernin suggested to Deadline that the absence of Oscar love for Serkis’ performances may have come down to the lack of “understanding” of motion capture, but said the Serkis spotlight offered in the marketing leading up to the War‘s release (particularly this promo) helped highlight the actor’s work. “I think the studio’s done a good job of showing people exactly how it’s made, and I do believe that it’s hard to look at that performance — particularly when you peel back the layers and see what Andy had to do underneath it — and not say that’s one of the extraordinary performances of all time.”
Save for a few examples, such as Lord of the Rings and Mad Max: Fury Road, the Academy doesn’t usually warm to blockbuster-type fare, even if the critical praise is high. The 90th Academy Awards could be a little different. We could, for example, see an Apes vs Superhero showdown; Warner Bros. also has big Oscar plans for Wonder Woman.
Studio eyes will be fixated on January 23, 2018, the date the Oscar nominations are announced. The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, with Jimmy Kimmel back as host, will take place on March 4, 2018.