Hollywood’s biggest night is just around the corner, and while film fans will soon find out which celebrities will take home coveted golden statuettes dog devotees are already applauding the work of some of the talented tail-waggers who showed off their acting chops on the big screen in 2014.
As the American Humane Association marks its 75th anniversary year, the organization once again recognizes the cinematic skill of animal actors with a PAWSCARS presentation. Stepping into the roles of co-hosts of the event are NCIS star/animal advocate Pauley Perrette and actor/Kids Against Animal Cruelty founder Lou Wegner.
Among this year’s list of animal actors who have been honored with a PAWSCAR are the following dog stars:
Wolfie, the winner of the Best Puppy Under Pressure award— The American Humane Association ensured that the comedic King Charles Spaniel who starred alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen in the scandalous slapstick flick The Interview was never near any of the movie’s explosions or gunfire, with all loud noises either added in post-production or filmed with a stuffed stunt dog toy. Wolfie was also strapped in for safety during the movie’s boat scenes, and received star treatment, including a hot water bottle for warmth, in between takes.
Nikki and King, winners of Best Chase Sequence— Two German Shepherd with showed off their star quality when they portrayed a pooch in pursuit of actor Jason Segal when his character searches through a friend’s home for a video of a naughty nature in the comedy Sex Tape. The American Humane Association reports that Certified Animal Safety Representatives were on set during the dogs’ scenes, and for the movie’s treadmill gag assured that the machine was never running when the dog was on it– stuffed animals and CGI were employed for all potentially dangerous parts and the full scene was composed in post-production.
Ice, Puppers and T, the recipients of Best Young Performer(s)— A trio of talented Pit Bull puppies brought the part of Rocco to life on the big screen in the mob drama The Drop. Like true silver screen stars, the pups found themselves pampered in a makeup chair in order to embody the same character in the movie, and the American Humane Association was on hand to see that the makeup used was nontoxic. Certified Animal Safety Representatives ensured that none of the pups were overworked, asked to do anything outside of their capabilities, and had a safe, comfortable environment both on set and off.
Tess, a dog among a pack of animal actors who won Best Ensemble— A cinematic trek of self-discovery, Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own in Wild included cameos by canine Tess as well as a horse named Muffet, a fox called Dharma, Fred the rattlesnake, Sport the rabbit, Taiga the llama and 40 frogs. Each animal was able to film their role without risk thanks to Certified Animal Safety Representatives form the American Humane Association.
Lassie receives Top Dog of All Time recognition— The American Humane Association asked which famous Fido and feline deserved top dog status, and 2,527 animal lovers answered “Lassie!” A recipient over the years of 11 PATSYs (the American Human Association’s Animal Television Star Awards), the charismatic collie has been a canine icon for more than 75 years was first celebrity Spot to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the first dog star inducted into the Animal Actors Hall of Fame. (For fans of felines, the winner of the Top Cat of All Time accolade was Tiki, a Himalayan cat best known to movie buffs as Sassy from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco.)
Along with skilled Spots, this year’s PAWSCARS also shone a spotlight on the acting abilities of other performers with fur, fins and feathers, including Tug, whose portrayal of Milky White in the film adaptation of the Broadway smash Into the Woods led her to win Best Magical Cow; the marine movie stars of Dolphin Tale 2 were recognized as Best Aquatic Performance; Dale the horse didn’t monkey around on the set of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and his professionalism garnered him a Best Supporting Equine Award, and Crystal the capuchin monkey, who has had film fans going bananas for her roles in more than 25 movies, including the Night at the Museum franchise, American Pie, The Hangover: Part 2 and Dr. Doolittle, received the Lifetime Diva Achievement award.
For more information regarding the American Humane Association’s 75 history in the entertainment industry, its “No Animals were Harmed” program and famous furry stars over the years, read Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors by Allen and Linda Anderson, the co-founders of the Angel Animals Network. Proceeds from sale of the book support American Humane Association’s lifesaving work and programs which protect both children and animals in need.
Photo Credit: YouTube/American Humane Association