The “Pawscars”: These Awards Are for the Dogs

The American Humane Association’s sixth annual "Pawscars" gave awards and a little love to films that took part in the association’s “No Animals Were Harmed” campaign last year. Even films that critics panned, like The Interview, got a nod.

Considering all the trouble Sony Pictures ran into with the release of The Interview, this might make for a pretty good consolation prize.

The American Humane Association (AHA) hands out annual awards called the “Pawscars,” which is exactly what it sounds like: an awards show for animals in films. Wolfie, the King Charles spaniel who starred in the Seth Rogen/James Franco picture skewering North Korea, won for “Best Puppy Under Pressure.”

Hey, it beats a Razzie. (Oh wait, the film got a few of those nominations as well.)

Seriously, though, the sixth annual Pawscars—which, just in time for the Oscars on Sunday, honors the movies and animals that take part in AHA’s “No Animals Were Harmed” campaign—offers an opportunity for the association to show off its work to protect animals during filming.

“He was never near any of the explosions, gunfire, or loud noise—all that was added in postproduction, or a stuffed double was used,” AHA noted of Wolfie’s role in The Interview. “In the boat scenes, Wolfie was always kept strapped in for safety, while in between takes, he was kept warm with a hot water bottle.”

Other notable winners this year:

A mooooo-ving performance: The Disney film Into the Woods snagged three Oscar nominations for supporting actress, costume design, and production design, but AHA honored Tug, the cow who played Milky White in the film. She won for Best Magical Cow, because clearly there’s no better award to hand a cow than that. Again, AHA was on set to ensure she was treated humanely. “In the scene where Tug is eating odd things like hair and old shoes, she was actually fed edible substitutes. And in the scene where she collapses, it was not her at all; it was a fake prop cow,” the association noted.

And the crowd goes Wild: The Reese Witherspoon film, which featured the star taking a long hiking trip up the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, showcased a variety of animals in supporting roles. “Along the way she encounters a horse played by Muffet, a fox played by Dharma, a rattlesnake played by Fred, a dog played by Tess, a rabbit played by Sport, and even a llama played by Taiga,” AHA said. Together, they won for Best Ensemble.

Honoring the legends: The ceremony, marking the 75th anniversary of the “No Animals Were Harmed” program this year, also honored three longtime animal stars. Legendary film and television star Lassie won the award for Top Dog Star of All Time, while Homeward Bound’s famous Himalayan cat, Sassy, won Top Cat Star of All Time. And for completing more than 25 roles in 18 years, the capuchin monkey Crystal, who most recently appeared in Night at the Museum 3, won the Lifetime Diva Achievement Award.

Curious about the rest of this year’s winners? This video has all the details:

Now that’s doggone good.

The real star of "The Interview" is, of course, the dog. (Sony Pictures)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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