It has always bothered me that voice acting isn’t taken more seriously, as it is not the easiest of things to do. I have always said that an Academy Award category should have been created for voice acting the moment that Robin Williams played the Genie in Aladdin. Honestly, that performance was so good, and it was all done in a studio booth with nobody else around, other than the filmmakers.
That’s what is always so impressive to me. 9 times out of 10, the actors are in a recording booth, by themselves, acting the dialogue on the page in front of them, often repeating lines several times in different ways. To be able to act and react to somebody that isn’t there, that’s impressive. And, I find it even more impressive because the voice work is always done long before the animation is completed. The actor maybe has a drawing of what their character is going to look like. If they’re lucky, they’ll have some rough animation. And, from that, they have to create the voice and portray very real emotions.
In recent years, actors have recorded their voices while all together, like in Wreck-It Ralph. They’re able to actually play off of each other this way, making room for some improvisation. Honestly, I think Wreck-It Ralph had some of the best voice performances in recent years. And I’m forever bitter that Brave won the Oscar instead.
Bradley Cooper is another one that should have been recognized for his phenomenal job voicing Rocket Raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. He transformed his voice so much that you could hardly tell that it was him. It was impressive. Also, the dedication of Vin Diesel in recording his voice in a ton of different languages so he could voice Groot in every country.
And yet, another worth mentioning, in recent years, is Dwayne Johnson in Moana. His performance as Maui is tremendous.
Fun fact: I started this post before the Academy announced that they would now have a “Popular Film” category. And, now that they have announced that, I feel like this post is more necessary than ever. Creating a “Popular Film” category just continues to put a stigma on popular, crowd pleasing films. Black Panther is art just as much as any small, independent film is. The creation of this category just shows how far out of touch the Academy actually is. It’s infuriating that a “Popular Film” category is created before a voice-acting or even stunt category.
So, I’ll say it now, I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it over and over until either the creation of the category or I die, whichever comes first: there needs to be a voice acting award. There needs to be.