The Artist: Does a dog deserve an Oscar?
Man's best friend arguably delivers Hollywood's best performance this year — but Academy rules prevent him from taking home a trophy
One the year's biggest breakout film stars is a 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Uggie. His turn as the sidekick to a falling-from-grace movie star in The Artist, the silent film that's widely expected to earn a Best Picture nomination, is "the best performance, human or animal, in any film I've seen this year" says New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick. S.T. Vanairsdale at Movieline launched a viral campaign for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Uggie, and nearly 1,800 people have "liked" the "Consider Uggie" Facebook page. The problem: The Academy has long barred animals from receiving nominations. Does Uggie, who's also a talented skateboarder, merit an exception?
Uggie deserves a trophy: Failing to honor Uggie would be a "cruel snub," says Vanairsdale at Movieline. He gives a performance as nuanced as human co-stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo "while adhering most strictly to the covenants of silent-cinema storytelling." The people who dole out awards need to wise up, "take a good hard look into Uggie's huge eyes and huger talent," and do the right thing.
"Consider Uggie: The Awards Case for The Artist's wonder dog"
Give me a break: "This campaign is plainly ridiculous," says Forrest Wickman at Slate. Uggie didn't even give the year's most convincing canine performance. He overacts, chewing the scenery whenever he's on screen. "Every aspect of his performance just barks 'I'm acting here!'" The hounds more deserving of an award? How about the German Shepherd from Take Shelter who "manages to be alternately sympathetic and terrifying," or the terrier Cosmo who conveys "true pathos" in Beginners?
"The case against Uggie the dog"
Uggie was great, but so were many humans: Uggie gives the year's "most consistent and memorable performance," and would win Best Supporting Actor "if I and PETA could say anything about it," says Roger Friedman at Showbiz 411. But his human rivals in the category are nothing to scoff at. Corey Stoll delivers as Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris, Albert Brooks "just about steals Drive" from Ryan Gosling, and Kenneth Branagh "does some of his best work ever" in My Week With Marilyn. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
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