Continuing both my story on the great animal characters of 2011 and my story from August on Andy Serkis's Academy Award chances/worthiness, yesterday I wrote a Conversation roundup piece about the growing fan-based campaign for Uggie, the dog from "The Artist," and Fox's official push for Serkis for Best Supporting Actor for playing Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
First, there's Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who plays an Asta-like pup in The Artist (also seen this year in Water for Elephants). Begun by Movieline's S.T. VanAirsdale, the cute little canine already has a Facebook campaign and Twitter hashtag (not to mention he's skateboarding on TV for promotion) in the hopes that he'll be recognized in some capacity. Maybe the Academy can quickly devise a new animal-based category (competition could be animals in Beginners, War Horse, The Turin Horse and Le Havre), similar to the Cannes Palm Dog Award (which Uggie won this year). I think there's too many great animal performances to just honor him with a special trophy. Besides, as Awards Daily's Sasha Stone points out, Uggie wasn't even the only dog in the role (of course, it can also be said that many actors share roles with stuntmen and doubles, too). At the very least, I think the Oscars ceremony should feature an animal montage.