Just ahead of the Emmys on September 17, PETA's Animals in Film and Television Division is announcing its first-ever Elly Awards, honoring some of television’s most compassionate stars and shows for promoting animal-friendly storylines and for entertaining viewers without exploiting wild animals.
Winners include Lily Tomlin, who scored the award for Best Lead in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of vegetarian Frankie in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and whose real-life work in behalf of animals includes using her sense of humor to protest against SeaWorld and her sense of justice to object to Texas A&M University’s cruel muscular dystrophy experiments on dogs. Best Lead in a Drama Series is a tie between Chrissy Metz of This Is Us — for her character Kate’s promotion of homeless-animal adoption — and actor and real-life vegetarian Gaten Matarazzo, whose character in the sci-fi hit Stranger Things shows compassion in caring for “Dart” the demogorgon. The Sinner’s Bill Pullman nabbed the title of Best Lead in a Limited Series for his character Harry’s gentle rescue of a distressed bird.
The Handmaid’s Tale took home the Best Accidentally Vegan Message award for its chilling parallels to the suffering of cows on dairy farms who are forcibly impregnated and whose beloved calves are taken away from them soon after birth. A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Walking Dead tied for Best CGI — both shows used digital imagery to create big cats rather than forcing real wild animals to perform. The Orville snagged the title of Best “Captivity Sucks” Moment for its message against imprisoning animals for entertainment, while vegan Atlanta actor Zazie Beetz nabbed the Who We Can’t Get Enough Of award. Riverdale — whose sympathetic cast includes Madelaine Petsch, who starred in a gorgeous vegan campaign; Charles Melton, who just shot a top-secret campaign for PETA; and KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, and Mark Consuelos, who frequently post pro-animal messages on social media — won the award for Most Animal-Friendly Ensemble.
“From CGI wizardry that kept real wild animals off television sets to storylines that send positive messages about animals to caring actors who help them in their real lives, these winners show that kindness is trending in Hollywood,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA’s inaugural Elly Awards recognize the people and projects that have helped audiences see animals as individuals who deserve our respect.”
PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” — also awarded Ellys to Ricky Gervais, who won Best Comedy Special for using his platform to speak out against cruelty to animals, and Saturday Night Live, whose “Diner Lobster” skit (starring Pete Davidson, John Mulaney, and Chris Redd) nabbed Best Variety Sketch for highlighting the excruciating pain that crustaceans feel when boiled alive. PETA’s Pick was deadlocked between vegan funnyman Craig Robinson, who starred in Ghosted, and Edie Falco of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, who’s spoken out against SeaWorld and animal circuses in multiple campaigns for the group.
The full list of winners — who will each receive an intricate gold statue of a wild elephant — is available here.