With Academy Award Season on the horizon it's important to remember the amazing animals in this year's films who brought such joy and emotion to millions worldwide. Although most people may think the Oscar is the most important award a film can earn, we believe the honor lies in the American Humane Associations No Animals Were Harmed certification.
In the spirit of acknowledging the incredible performances of 2011, American Humane Association is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2012 PAWSCAR Awards:
Best Scene Stealer — Uggie, the adorable Jack Russell in the new silent film, The Artist, can evoke more humor and lightheartedness in silence and in black and white than most dogs can in Technicolor and sound. Not only did Uggie steal the hearts of The Artist's audience, he also stole the hearts of his co-stars. Uggie even managed to continue stealing the spotlight when the camera person at the Golden Globes couldn't take the camera off him during the cast's acceptance speech as The Artist won Best Film. By the way, in real life Uggie is a shelter rescue and American Humane Association Film & TV Unit estimates that approximately 80 percent of the cats and dogs you see on the large and small screen are rescues and/or adopted from shelters!
Best Perception vs. Reality — There is no doubt that there are scenes in Warhorse that are gut-wrenching and tough to watch, such as the scene where Joey the horse (whose real name is Finder) runs across the battlefield and gets caught in a fence of barbed wire (which was really made of soft rubber). Although this scene appeared incredibly visceral and real, the truth is the American Humane Association was on set to make sure that all of our strict and comprehensive Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media were in place. The scene is a perfect example of the audience perceiving Joey in in danger while the reality is that No Animals Were Harmed and Finder did an amazing acting job.
Best Dressed — American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representatives™ are extremely knowledgeable about all species of animals — including, of course, the well-known Pygoscelis Papua. Okay, that means Gentoo Penguin. Besides being darn cute and gliding on ice like skaters, one thing we can all agree on about the penguins in Mr. Popper's Penguins is that they're darn snappy dressers. They even out-dressed their co-star Jim Carrey at the Hollywood premiere of the film when they waddled down the red carpet in their naturally tailored tuxedos. And man, as Jim Carrey would say, "They were smokin'!"
Best Inspirational "Tail" — When the true story of Winter the dolphin with her prosthetic tail was made into an inspirational film called Dolphin Tale, the whole world took notice. It's incredible that Winter was able to beat the odds that were stacked against her and live a wonderful life with her new tail. And now she lives that life encouraging people of all ages and walks of life, including children with disabilities and returning veterans with severe injuries, to find hope within themselves. Winter beautifully illustrates what the human-animal bond is all about.
Best Use of Technology — In Jack And Jill a cockatoo named Poopsie finds himself in a chocolate fountain, sipping a Jack Daniels and flying against a gale-force wind. Now if co-stars Adam Sandler and Robert DeNiro want a glass of whiskey or take a swim in chocolate that's up to them, but green screens, computer-generated imaging and a fake bird filled in for the real Poopsie in those situations. American Humane Association can safely say that Poopsie was the most entertaining bird of 2011.
Best Ensemble Cast — We scoured the world to find a movie that could win this particular category and oh man, it was tough, but we finally settled on Cameron Crowe's holiday family film, We Bought A Zoo. The animal actors in this film include otters, peacocks, a bear, a lion, tigers, a capuchin, snakes, bees, porcupines, an iguana and a binturong. That's right, a binturong (aka a bearcat). Oh, and we almost forgot! A cute beagle named Leon.
Best Animal Speaking Role Ever — You know the human-animal bond is the emotional epicenter of the film when the dog's barks are scrawled out in subtitles. Cosmo, the canine companion to Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer in the wonderful film, Beginners, runs the gamut of emotions, from fear to sadness, elation to redemption. You'll be surprised how much emotion Cosmo brings out of his co-stars, which is probably why Christopher Plummer thanked Cosmo (who was also rescued from a shelter before becoming a star) in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards. And Ewan fell so hard for Cosmo that immediately after wrapping the movie, he adopted a dog of his own.
Best Doppelganger (look it up) — When the legendary Four Musketeers proclaimed, "All four one and one four all" they could've been talking about the four four-legged pooches from the Science Fiction film, I Am Number Four. You would never know by watching the film but four dogs were used to portray one dog. Sometimes animal trainers use multiple look-alike animals to play one character for a variety of reasons, whether it's to make sure that each animal gets enough rest or when they need different characteristics that one animal may exhibit more than another. Maybe that's secretly why they named it I Am Number Four?
American Humane Association has partnered with Animal Planet and together they are bringing the opportunity for all Americans to vote for your favorite PAWSCAR.
The inaugural Animal Planet People's Choice Award is the best way for you to stand up and be counted as we all recognize the wonderful animals we bonded with on film throughout the past year. Just go online between February 10th – 19th to cast your vote for and see which of these amazing remarkable animal actors will receive the very first ever Animal Planet People's Choice Award!