War for the Planet of the Apes may not have been the massive smash at the box office that Fox was hoping for, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that they have an excellent movie on their hands. And they definitely know that to be the case. As such, they are planning a massive awards season campaign for War for the Planet of the Apes, with their sights set on a Best Picture nomination and some love for Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar.
Deadline reports that Fox is launching a major effort to get War for the Planet of the Apes recognized during this awards season with the ultimate hope of earning the movie Oscar gold. To date, the only Academy Award the Planet of the Apes series has earned was a makeup award for the original in 1968. Here’s what former head of Fox and producer on the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy Peter Chernin had to say about it.
“I’m incredibly proud of this movie, and I do believe that on almost any level of storytelling, character development, narrative thrusts, or epic-ness, this is an extraordinary movie. In the past people probably have tended to sort of genre-ize it and sort of look at it, well as if it is a genre movie and not take it as seriously as they should, and I think that you know our view is that this movie deserves serious consideration. Certainly it’s been made with a level of ambition, care, and attention that’s as meaningful as anything I’ve ever worked on. “
War for the Planet of the Apes has earned $359.9 million at the worldwide box office, but it still has a few key markets, such as Japan and China, to open in. So even though it hasn’t made what many were expecting, it still could be a box office success when all’s said and done. More importantly, at least when it comes to securing an Academy Award, the movie is a true critical success. As of this writing, Apes 3 has a 93 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As far as Peter Chernin is concerned, they have a great shot at getting some Oscar nominations.
“I think if we can get to that stage, I think we’ve got a good shot, because I think that on a filmmaking basis this is, in my opinion, you know as impressive as anything that’s come out this year…I believe that if people take the time to really look at the quality of the filmmaking, this is an extraordinary achievement, and Matt’s done a remarkable job directing. With Andy Serkis, I believe it’s one of the great performances I’ve ever seen, and then I think you look at all the key departments. We finished shooting this movie, way over a year ago and so we’ve put tremendous care and attention into every detail trying to make it as artistically ambitious as we possibly could. I would hope people would look at all that.”
Even though War for the Planet of the Apes is a blockbuster, summer movie, it is the kind of movie that seems like it can also be an awards season favorite. For one, director Matt Reeves managed to craft a very satisfying ending to this trilogy, which is now easily in the conversation for one of the best trilogies of all-time. Also, much has been made of Andy Serkis’ incredible motion-capture performance as Caesar. And rightfully so. Despite the Academy’s current rules that don’t allow for Serkis to be nominated in the Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor categories, Fox is going to push to get him some recognition. Blockbuster or not, this feels like an Oscar movie, sort of like The Lord of the Rings movies.
“I actually think it’s a very Academy-like movie, and that it is one of the most moral movies that has been made this year. It’s a movie about what is morality about. What is the morality of leadership about? What is one’s soul about? How do you struggle with the balance between one’s fundamental humanity versus the desire for revenge? This is sort of what Caesar is struggling with, he is torn between his desire for revenge and his obligation and his responsibility towards the people he’s leading. In my opinion these are really important themes, the kind of themes the Academy voters have historically responded to.”
Fox’s plans will include trying to score some nominations with a critics group or SAG to try and build some momentum for War for the Planet of the Apes ahead of the Oscar nominations. Since a lot of new Academy members were added this year, the studio could be in a good position to have success with this campaign. If Warner Bros. has luck with their Wonder Woman Oscar campaign as well, we could be seeing a bit of a shakeup at the Academy Awards next year.