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Is it actor, ape or computer?

BFCA board creates special award for King Kong

Among most film critics’ circles, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger are favorites for the year’s top acting honor.

But when it came time for the Critics’ Choice Awards, several members of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. felt the year’s best performance belonged to a giant gorilla.

So the BFCA board created a special award, distinguished achievement in performing arts, for “King Kong.”

“We have bulletin boards on our Web site for internal discussion of the awards,” BFCA prexy Joey Berlin explains. “People wanted to know if they would be allowed to vote for (‘King Kong’) in the best actor category.”

Hence, the award.

Since Kong’s perf combines the efforts of actor Andy Serkis, animation director Christian Rivers and animation supervisor Joe Letteri, all three — accompanied by their CG creation — will accept the award on the Jan. 9 telecast.

According to Berlin, the group considered giving Serkis a similar award for his motion-capture performance as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but New Line worried it might spoil Serkis’ Oscar chances.

“The studio was hoping that they would get a straight acting nomination in the regular category,” he says.

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