Everyone from 8 to 80 knows and respects those famous words, “No Animals Were Harmed®,” that are placed as an official certification from the American Humane Association in the end-credits of movies. For the fifth year, the organization that oversees the safety and humane treatment of animals in film and television, is proud to present its animal-centric take on the Oscars® by awarding best-animal performances to those incredible creatures who bring such joy and pathos to films seen all over the globe. American Humane Association protects the safety and welfare of more than 100,000 animals on more than 2,000 productions each year with a 99.98% safety rate. Who better to have created the PAWSCARS than American Humane Association?
Check out this year’s winners below or see them for yourself in the following video:
Best Harbinger of Doom – “Hitchcock”
What’s scarier than Anthony Hopkins in a fat suit playing the famed director Alfred Hitchcock in the film biopic, “Hitchcock”? How about a raven standing on the director’s shoulder? Chilling! In the last scene of “Hitchcock” after the director found a newfound fame with “Psycho,” he asks the audience what is to come next in his career when suddenly a black raven flies onto his shoulder, a foreboding to the release of his next hit, “The Birds” of course. By the way, thanks to American Humane Association, no birds were harmed in the making of this movie.
Best Literary Muse – “Ruby Sparks”
The independent comedy, “Ruby Sparks” is about a sad, lonely writer suffering from writer’s block. When his muse comes to life in the form of a girl named Ruby Sparks, your eyes still can’t be torn away from protagonist Paul Dano’s cute dog, Scotty, who is by his owner’s side throughout the film. Audiences can trust that American Humane Association was by Scotty’s side throughout the film monitoring every action. The movie has a lesson about searching for inspiration in someone else when it’s standing right there beside you. Could Scotty qualify for that description? I think so!
Best Stunt – “The Three Stooges”
Larry, Moe and Curly usually carry off their crazy antics without any help from the animal kingdom. However, there is an amazing stunt in the Farrelly Brothers’ “The Three Stooges” where the three amigos jump on a trio of mules just sitting there waiting for them and they ride off into the sunset. This incredible effect was accomplished safely by following the American Humane Association’s strict guidelines while the actors sat on the mules before being ratcheted off their mounts with a machine that lifted them into the air. Later, they just reversed the footage and presto - The Three Stooges ride again!
Best Man’s Best Friend – “The Lucky One”
Oh, Nicholas Sparks, your books and movies always set us aflame with love and romance. From “The Notebook” to “The Lucky One,” we’re bound to encounter a story that will appeal to the romantic in all of us. Still, it takes something special to keep the protagonist grounded with all this love flying in the air. In the case of “The Lucky One,” that happens to be a German shepherd named Zeus who belongs to the Zac Efron character. This relationship is especially important in the movie since Zeus elicits human feelings from a soldier who just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Once the protagonist recognizes these emotions, he is able to realize his love for the girl in the film. Thank dog for animals and the positive influence they have in this world!
Best Pig In A Blanket – “Magic Mike”
In the critically acclaimed film, “Magic Mike” director Steven Soderberg made the right choice by casting breakout star, Maynard the Pig, who overshadowed pretty boys Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey in the role of Herman. If a pig can steal that kind of thunder, you know he deserves the American Humane Association PAWSCAR for “Best Pig in a Blanket.” Maynard was in good hands with American Humane Association on set monitoring every little hoof-step of his performance.
Best Supporting Actor – “Ted”
It’s never fair when a talented actor has to play second fiddle to something that doesn’t even exist! This is a frequent occurrence these days due to the advent of special FX and CGI (computer-generated images). And this was definitely the case with the sleeper comedy “Ted,” a movie about a man and his best friend, his Teddy Bear. Usually, man’s best friend is a dog, and has been portrayed as such in films since the dawn of celluloid. But not in “Ted”! Still, a dog gets his revenge in “Ted” in a pivotal opening scene when the bear is walking down the street and a dog runs and picks him up in his jaws! Take that, CGI!
Best Baaaah… - “Wanderlust”
There’s been a lot of talk about the romance that sparked between actors Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston on the set of “Wanderlust,” but let’s talk about the performance by that memorable sheep! When we first meet the hippie character, played by Theroux, the scene is stolen by the blissful sheep wrapped around his neck, which is why the American Humane Association is pleased to present the PAWSCAR award for “Best Baaa!” to a sheep that the certified safety reps at American Humane Association ensured the welfare of during the production of WANDERLUST - Justin and Jennifer took care of themselves.
Best Animal in a Leading Role – “Seven Psychopaths”
If Uggie became a household name from last year’s “The Artist,” then Bonny from this year’s off-beat comedy, “Seven Psychopaths,” should earn the same glorious fate. Like Uggie, Bonny the dog is pretty much the epicenter of “Seven Psychopaths,” spurring the action and attracting the attention of every character in the movie. When a group of misfits steal Bonny from her vicious owner and mob boss played by Woody Harrelson, they immediately hit the road when they realize from whom they stole the dog.
Best Horsemanship – “Django Unchained”
Who’s cooler than Jamie Foxx? Not many folks, I’ll tell you that, which is especially evident in Quentin Tarantino’s new Western, “Django Unchained,” featuring Jamie Foxx as the title character on a quest to rescue his wife from some sadistic slave owners. In addition to infusing his character with icy coolness and fiery anger, Foxx also used his own horse, Cheetah, in the film. Riding horses since he was a boy, Foxx’s horsemanship is dynamite cool. Just look for a crazy two step at the end of the film. Unchained indeed!
Best Human/Animal Bond – “Life of Pi”
Without a doubt, the film that truly captured the beauty of the human and animal bond this year was Ang Lee’s smash hit, “Life of Pi.” The story of an Indian adolescent and a Tiger he calls Richard Parker stranded on a lifeboat together after being shipwrecked cuts to the core of life and how all of us, humans and animals, are part of the same cycle. More than just an allegorical tale of the existence of God, “Life of Pi” shows us that there is an incredible connection between the animal and human world.