(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years. This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)
The arrival of Dreamworks Animation on the scene with the success of Shrek, which won both the inaugural Best Animated Feature award and the Best Voice Performance award at the 74th Oscars, was a turning point for the animated industry. No longer was animation the solely linked to Disney, and the result was an expansion of animation and a greater variety of voice roles for famous actors. However, all of that would be overshadowed in 2002 by one single performance. Andy Serkis’s portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was energizing for the industry and immediately led to calls for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in the film, in spite of the fact that the performance used a combination of animation and motion capture instead of the actor actually appearing in the film. It was a foregone conclusion for many that he would automatically receive a nomination in the Best Voice Performance category.