PETA's Animals in Film and Television Division is getting into the awards season spirit with its third annual Oscats, which honor the movies and stars who promoted kindness to animals through positive actions, story lines, and the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) during the previous year.
Two outspoken vegans, Joker star and PETA’s 2019 Person of the Year Joaquin Phoenix and Harriet star Cynthia Erivo, won Best Actor, while Best Picture went to The Lion King for using breathtaking CGI to portray its cast of wild-animal characters instead of exploiting a single real one. Dumbo netted two awards: Best Screenplay, for changing the original film’s ending so that Dumbo and his mother escape from a life of abuse and exploitation, and Best “Bad Guy” for star Michael Keaton, who continued spreading the film’s anti-captivity message in a PETA campaign.
Two films won awards for themes opposing animal experimentation: Abominable was named Best Animated Film, and The Animal People, which was executive-produced by Phoenix and tells the true story of six advocates determined to expose one of the world’s largest animal-testing labs, nabbed Best Documentary.
Rocketman won Best Costume Design for using only faux fur to bring Sir Elton John’s wardrobe to life, and the Oscat for The Primo Primate went to Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt, whose zero-gravity baboons narrowly edged out Boots (in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, voiced by PETA pal Danny Trejo), Rafiki (in The Lion King), the capuchin in Dumbo, and the macaques in Velvet Buzzsaw. And Best “Food for Thought” Moment went to Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for relating Fred Rogers’ signature explanation for going meat-free: “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.”
The PETA Pick went to Long Shot starring PETA pal Charlize Theron — while the prize for Best Movie Starring Cats Without Using Any Cats went, unsurprisingly, to … well, Cats. The winners will each receive a beautiful framed certificate, and the full list is available here.
“PETA’s Oscats show that no decent filmmaker will force wild animals to perform — and animal-friendly messaging is what modern audiences want,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Hollywood is portraying animal abusers as the villains they are, and PETA looks forward to seeing even more compassionate moments in film in 2020.”