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Before ‘Oscar Night,’ Animals and American Humane Association’s ‘Pawscars’™ Rule the Day

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‘Pawscar’ awards recognize an indisputable measure of a great film: Ensuring that ‘No Animals Were Harmed’®

LOS ANGELES – Even before the Oscar winners are announced, several Academy Award-nominated films have already earned an important and respected honor: the “No Animals Were Harmed”® certification from American Humane Association, the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals. American Humane Association’s Certified Animal Safety Representatives™ monitor the treatment of animals on 2,000 productions each year. This year, Oscar-nominated productions that did the right thing by keeping their animal actors safe include “True Grit,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” and “Salt.”

In addition to commending those films on their treatment of animals and their nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Humane Association recognizes each of the following films with a “Pawscar”™ — an unofficial, animal-centric spin on the Oscars:

Best Villain – “Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore”
Forget Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader. For a portrait of pure evil, look no further than the diabolical villain Kitty Galore in “Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore.” Although Kitty Galore herself was created by computer-generated imagery (CGI), props and special effects, she was real enough to give you nightmares for weeks after seeing the movie. Don’t be fooled though — this project was a mixture of CGI and live action and, therefore, called for American Humane Association’s Certified Animal Safety Representatives to ensure the safety and well-being of all the animals involved.

Best Chase Scene in a Movie – “Tooth Fairy”
In our humble opinion, the cat chase scene in “Tooth Fairy” surpasses every Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer production. But instead of cars, we get a fearless feline who will stop at nothing to have The Rock for an afternoon snack. Picture the scene and feel the suspense, as our hero tiptoes past the cat to attend his dental duties. Of course, the cat awakens from its slumber, teeth bared, ready to pounce on our hero. But like any good tooth fairy, Derek blows a loud horn which frightens the cat. You’ll be glad to hear that this kitty cat had top-notch supervision and care, thanks to the watchful eyes of American Humane Association animal safety reps on set monitoring this edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting chase and all the other scenes featuring animals.

Best Surfing Scene Ever – “Marmaduke”
So, you didn’t buy Keanu Reeves playing an FBI agent going undercover as a surfer in “Point Break”? Then maybe a surfing dog will be easier to swallow. And our boy Marmaduke doesn’t even have to lazily spout off lines like, “I am an FBI agent!” He only has to bark, give us a “hang ten” and ride that pipeline to your heart. Of course, the only way to get Marmaduke and the other pups catching any waves is by having American Humane Association animal safety reps monitoring their every move to ensure no wipeouts and “No Animals Were Harmed.”

Best Human-Animal Bond – “Secretariat”
You thought the only purpose of a racehorse was to run in circles while sweating the last 50 bucks in your savings account? Well, try giving one of them (a horse, that is) a hug for a change! In one of our favorite films of the year, “Secretariat,” Diane Lane exemplifies the beauty of the bond between people and animals in this true story about Penny Chenery, who fought to keep and protect one of the fastest racehorses in history, despite all the odds. To top off this feel-good movie, American Humane Association’s Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media was strictly implemented and abided by at all times.

Best Effort to Protect an Animal – “Shutter Island”
Everyone thinks it’s fun to be Leonardo DiCaprio — all those Lakers games and supermodels. But nobody seems to mention rats! During the filming of Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” American Humane Association safety representatives and the trainers took extra steps to make sure that all that foot-‘n-rat action was on the up and up with no one, and no rat, ever in any danger. Not everyone is attracted to Leo, or his cheesy feet — the rats never took one bite, and, of course, were protected from any harm.

Best Mythological Animal in a Film – “Clash of the Titans”
Horses don’t really have wings. Which also means “Clash of the Titans” is not a documentary. Still, the fact remains — horses with wings rock! And the reality throughout this mythological remake is that an American Humane Association animal safety rep in the U.K. tirelessly monitored all of the animal action, including the majestic Friesian stallions playing Pegasus. Thanks to motion-capture technology, these beauties appear to have wings, thus assisting in a big way with (spoiler alert...) Perseus’ eventual triumph.

Best Supporting Arachnids – “Salt”
Unlike arachnid actors from such gems as “Them,” “Earth vs. the Spider” and “Tarantula,” the little fella in “Salt” was a little more subtle in his performance. It wasn’t just the way he crawled around that jar Angelina Jolie had him in, but the important role he played in the film. Angelina had to carefully interact with her eight-legged co-star with the help of American Humane Association safety reps, who instructed her on how to gently hold and touch the spider. Now that’s method acting!

Best Perception vs. Reality – “True Grit”
So you think it’d be tough to play Rooster Cogburn? As Jeff Bridges played the infamous character in the Coen Brothers’ Western “True Grit,” he’s a cantankerous one-eyed lawman. Well, imagine being the horse he rides! In a scene that’s beyond heart-wrenching, Cogburn rides Little Blackie to the nearest town in an attempt to save a snakebitten Mattie from near death. Basically, the perception is that he rides Little Blackie until she can ride no more. The scene was enough to make you cry — until you see the reality in the American Humane Association certification that “No Animals Were Harmed” in the making of this movie.

Best Recurring Character – “Harry Potter” Series
The beloved owl in the world-famous money machine “Harry Potter” pops up more than Newman from “Seinfeld.” Hedwig is more than just a magical creature who has protected Harry through his many trials. She has also been a friend to young Harry, having seen him through childhood, over the rough terrain of puberty and into adulthood. And all that time, someone was watching over Hedwig as well — American Humane Association’s Certified Animal Safety Representative Jan Caputo. For the past 10 years, she has been committed to protecting all the animals in the “Harry Potter” series. Fabulosum, Jan!

Video Available – The Pawscar award winners are announced by actor Jason Brooks, along with clips from the winning films:

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About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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