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Why The Oscars Refused To Nominate Star Wars’ Frank Oz For His Yoda Performance



This approach has a big impact not just on the audience, but the other performers, who see the puppet as a living actor. “The way Yoda came to life on the set was really special,” Samuel L. Jackson added. “George would say, ‘Action,’ and Yoda was suddenly just there, doing his scene. And then George would say, ‘Cut,’ Frank Oz would take his hand out, and Yoda would slump over as if he was hungover or not feeling well. And you felt like, ‘Man, somebody help Yoda!'”

Of course, Yoda would not be the last time the Academy would just refuse to recognize this sort of performance. While “The Lord of the Rings” movies won Oscars for visual effects, Andy Serkis’ performance as Gollum wasn’t recognized (though he did win an MTV Movie Award).

The same thing happened with the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy also starring Andy Serkis. By this point, the use of motion capture had become more well-known and prevalent in the industry. As fantastic as Serkis was as Caesar, however, and as lauded as the character was, not even campaigns from fans and even the studio itself helped dissuade the Academy.

The Academy has always been quite slow to recognize new contributions to cinema, whether it is puppetry or motion-capture performance or stunts. Hopefully this changes sooner rather than later.

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