Oscar Night for Animal Stars – The Pawscars

Oscar Night for Animal Stars – The Pawscars

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We like our pets better than other humans. Yes it’s one of those surveys that shock us and sort of don’t come as any surprise either. 40% of pet owners have said that their pet is the most important relationship in their day-to-day life, according to a survey undertaken by Hart Research Associates. The exception here is a spouse or a child. But that’s it. Granny? You don’t rate. Sister? You don’t rate. Cousin? You don’t rate. Buddy is master of the heart.

Pets outrank friends, parents, siblings and co-workers. In fact, pets are, in many instances, the glue that keeps the household together.

The survey also discovered that most dog owners know the name of their neighbour’s dog, but not the name of their neighbour. Snowy, Sooty, Scooby and Princess are all better mates to you than their humans. Oh God we humans are cold to each other.

With this in mind you might want to know that now, there is an Oscars night for pets who perform in movies. Yep. I wonder what delights are in those celeb goodie bags. Hopefully marijuana dog cookies are fecked in there at least.

Called the PAWSCARS, the awards are now an annual event, started by the American Humane Society. It awards the top animal stars of the year.

It’s a very swish night, don’t even think about attending is casual daywear. Black tie and evening wear please.

Here are this year’s PAWSCARS winners….

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Buttercup the cat in “Hunger Games”

Best Repurring Cat Performance – “The Hunger Games” Series
In “The Hunger Games” movies, Buttercup survived her share of nine lives, and then some. With a starring role in all four films, she gives Jennifer Lawrence a run for her money as the greatest survivor of the Capitals. “The Hunger Games” used numerous felines to portray Buttercup and her varying moods. John was the warrior cat. Orion was the loving, mellow one. In the scenes that had rain, production used extra warm water and the cats got a complete towel drying before being placed in a heated tent.

Best Bribe – “Daddy’s Home”
When a father and stepfather go head to head, sometimes bribery is required. Will Ferrell tries to steal the attention of his stepchildren from Mark Wahlberg.  In a last desperate attempt, Will Ferrell dresses up like Santa Claus and presents the kids with the ultimate bribe: a pony. Trainers were on set during the filming of this scene. They showed Will Ferrell how to lead the pony into the house and made sure that the pony’s path was clear of equipment and toys. The only trouble they had was the pony, Mary, kept trying to eat Will Ferrell’s Santa outfit.

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Mary the Pony from “Daddy’s Home”

Most Moving Performance – “The Hateful Eight”
Throughout the movie we see a team of powerful stallions pull a stage coach through picturesque, snow-covered valleys and mountains. The American Humane Association made sure all the horses were accustomed to both the weather and the altitude. They employed a Snow Cat to groom the trails prior to filming the scenes. Plus their hooves were covered with rubber ice pads to protect them from the snow.

Best Hitchcockian Hound – “The Gift”
The Gift revolves around a married couple and their dog, played by the very gifted Bolt. Some of his expressions are downright haunting. And like Anthony Perkins in “Psycho,” it’s all in the eyes.

Best Rodeo Romance – “The Longest Ride”
In “The Longest Ride,” Britt Robertson falls in love with a professional bull rider, played by Scott Eastwood. The bull riding scenes are nail-biting but the actors never did any of the real bull riding (it was cowboys). Scott Eastwood was waiting in the chute, ready to ride, sitting on a fake bull.

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Rags from “Love the Coopers”

Best Family Dog – “Love the Coopers”
This holiday comedy focuses on four generations of the Cooper clan and their journey home for their annual Christmas dinner. In the middle of this emotional hurricane stands Rags, a loveable St. Bernard. Director Jessie Nelson called Rags, “The Marlon Brando of Dogs.”

Best Ensemble Performance – “Cinderella”
Horses, mice, geese, chickens, cats and even lizards worked together in this year’s retelling of the classic, “Cinderella.” There have been many versions of “Cinderella,” but none as visually powerful as Disney’s newest incarnation. In particular, the famed scene where the carriage turns into a pumpkin, the horses into mice, and the coach driver into a goose, you might be surprised to hear that the animals in this sequence were in fact real, and not animated. Production filmed the real animals on a green screen. Then, they took that footage of the animals and digitally combined it with that of the pumpkin carriage. The rest was movie magic and CGI.

Best Hero Dog – “Max”
“Max” is the story of a military dog who returns from war after his handler is killed and then is adopted by his family. More than just a heartfelt drama, “Max” is also an exciting adventure, as well. A good example is when Max playfully chases the boy as he rides his bike through a forest. This scene was actually shot in small increments with the dog running only 50 yards at a time. Two trainers worked together on this scene, with one releasing the dog at point A, while the other welcomed the dog with treats and hugs at point B. The dog ran this trajectory multiple times. Then post-production edited this footage to create a seamless, exhilarating sequence. Not incidentally, American Humane Association was the proud champion of the recently passed 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which now guarantees the right of all military working dogs to return home when their tour of duty ends.

To watch the full 2016 PAWSCARS, please visit www.americanhumane.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanhumane or @americanhumane on Twitter.

 

 

 

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