Should Motion-Capture Actors Get Oscar Consideration?

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Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar: Acting or digital simulation?

I think Zoe Saldana should get supporting-actress consideration for her athletic and achingly emotional performance as Neytiri in Avatar. My husband thinks that because it wasn't "really her" onscreen, but a character simulated by "motion-capture," and enhanced by digital artists, that she shouldn't be acknowledged.

Thus I was glad to read this piece from Vanity Fair.com in which Rebecca Keegan considers why an actor's motion-capture performance (think Andy Serkis' amazing work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) should be recognized by the Academy.

When Saldana acted "Neytiri," she was on a stage with digital markers all over her face and body to capture her movement and facial expressions, and -- with the help of digital artists -- created a dimensional character. When Neytiri takes her bow and kills an animal to protect Jake Sully, the balletic effect was something that Balanchine might have choreographed. And when she gets angry that she has caused this death to protect this heedless human, her heartbreak and grief are close to what Falconetti achieved in the groundbreaking dramatic closeups of The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). I think Saldana's work constitutes a performance. (And I thought that Serkis gave the most powerful performance in the LOTR trilogy.) You think?

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