Did Zoe Saldana deserve a nomination for Best Actress based on her motion-capture performance as the Na'vi named Neytiri? James Cameron and producer Jon Landau obviously think so, and they blame the Academy for not understanding what they saw up on the screen. But, Landau added, according to Yahoo News, "I blame ourselves for not educating people in the right way."
Cameron, speaking at the recent Producers Guild Awards before the Oscar nominations were announced, had said, "People confuse what we have done with animation. ... It's nothing like animation. The creator here is the actor, not the unseen hand of an animator."
And now that the slate of nominees has been made public, with the Academy showing no love for any of the Avatar actors, Landau went so far as to describe the technology used to create the performance not as "motion capture," but rather as "emotion capture."
"We made a commitment to our actors that what they would see up on the screen were their performances," Landau said, "not somebody else's interpretation of what their performance might or might not be."
But James Lipton, host of Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio, defended the oversight. "What an actor is doing when acting is not just looking like something but expressing something going on inside," he said. "I'm not sure that motion capture, while it captures the flicker of an eyebrow, the twist of a mouth, a gesture of a hand, equally captures emotion."
What do you think? Whether you loved or hated the acting in Avatar, do you think that motion-capture performances can compete?