Animals on the Red Carpet

It’s Fun Friday!

This Sunday is the Academy Awards! Where the best cinematic achievements are singled out and honored.

This year two movies which both prominently featured animals are on the nimination list: Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Marley and Me.

But what if the Humane Society of the United States were to have its own awards? What movies would be nominated? What would the categories be, and who would leave with the covetted statue?

Here is what the HSUS decided on these matters:

Best Movie Magic Featuring an Animal: “The Dark Knight.” The film features a very dramatic sequence in which dogs attack a man and are then attacked themselves. Rest assured, no dogs were harmed. The production used a combination of techniques, including playing with the dogs, filming the dogs from various angles and using prop dogs, to achieve a realistic effect.

Most Poignant Movie Illustrating the Human-Animal Bond: “Marley & Me.” If you saw it, you had to dig out some tissues. This movie shows that even an overly rambunctious dog is still a valued and important member of the family, and the loss of a companion animal is truly the loss of a friend.

Best Behind-the-Scenes Rescue Story: “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” According to Chris Obonsawin, American Humane’s Certified Animal Safety Representative on the set of this film, one of the lead dogs who played Papi was a day away from being euthanized before a trainer discovered him in a California animal shelter. The dog now lives with the movie’s head trainer. Many trainers find their animals at animal shelters — trainer Frank Inn adopted a mutt from a California shelter in the 1960s. The mutt became “Benji.”

Best Group Effort to Protect Horses: “Appaloosa.” In Appaloosa, there is a scene in which men on horses cross a stream, then gallop up a ravine. The Animal Safety Representative, Ed Lish, explained that sending the horses through a stream, where sharp rocks or other dangers might be hidden under the water, would be against AmericanHumane’s guidelines. The entire crew immediately jumped in to scour both the stream and the ravine to clear the way of debris and ensure safety and comfort for the horses.

Best Rescue by a Snake: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” When Mutt grabs a vine to save Indy, who is sinking in quicksand, they find themselves grasping a snake. The production used a real python for some gentle “establishing shots,” then brought in a prop substitute for the “real” action.


NOTE:This is the first awards list generated by the HSUS since the end of the PATSY award in the mid 1980’s. PATSY stood for “Performing Animal Top Star of the Year”. A spokesman for the Humane Society has sated that they have considered bringing the PATSY back if there were enough interest in it.

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