Awards season is almost upon us. Fans hellbent on promoting the rights of quadrupeds this year have been clamouring for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to expand its eligibility criteria beyond humans so that a certain Jack Russell terrier known as Uggie, from The Artist, can have a shot at the gold statuette.
Uggie is no stranger to the silver screen – he appeared last year in Water for Elephants, alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson – but so fervent is the drive for his nomination that there is now a Facebook campaign, Consider Uggie, and the popular pooch even has his own Twitter account, where he regularly updates admirers with news.
Since the lovable canine won the "Palm Dog" award at Cannes last year, praise for his "acting skills" has reached fever pitch, with the New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick even asserting that Uggie's turn represented "the best performance, human or animal, in any film I've seen this year".
Though the Academy declined to respond to queries about its flexibility over the eligibility issue, Bafta confirmed that it "only recognises human performances and there are no plans to change this". However, if things do change, what happens in the case of Steven Spielberg's War Horse, when 10 horses played Joey, the equine hero rescued from the trenches?
This year's runners and riders also include the Jack Russell Cosmo, who bonded with Ewan McGregor in Beginners, and Bart the bear, who starred alongside Matt Damon in We Bought a Zoo.