I see a bunch of online campaigns supporting Uggie the Dog for an Oscar, for his performance in The Artist. Does he stand a chance?
—Dog Mommy, via the inbox
But does Oscar even like Uggie? I found out...
The answer is not likely to please dog lovers.
Yes, dogs have won some performance awards. In fact, Uggie himself recently won the Palm Dog for his acclaimed performance in The Artist. (You may also have seen Uggie appear as Queenie in Robert Pattison's Water for Elephants.)
However, it's not expected that Uggie will even be considered for an Oscar. According to my extensive research, animals have yet to win Academy Awards, even honorary ones. The Academy rules don't specifically ban animal nominees, but then again, they may not quite qualify as "actors" and "actresses" in the eyes of Oscar. (I've called the Academy to confirm, but they're being, um, catty.) The 48 pigs in Babe, the cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and whoever played Seabiscuit—none of them got nominated, either, you know.
I do have specific reason to believe that Uggie will be snubbed at the upcoming Academy prom, and that reason is another movie dog, Rin Tin Tin. In her new book about the legendary dog performer, Susan Orlean writes that in the first year Oscars were awarded, "according to Hollywood legend, Rinty received the most votes for best actor. But members of the Academy, anxious to establish the awards were serious and important, decided that giving an Oscar to a dog did not serve that end."
And that tradition has, apparently, continued to this day.