Every year at this time countless awards go out to human
beings for their accomplishments in movies. But what about the animals, whose
contributions are sometimes the only thing that make a film worth watching? The
"Where's Whitey?" Award is my small attempt to compensate for this injustice.
For those who need to be reminded, the name of the award
refers to Kim Tae-kyun's "Crossing," a South Korean film I saw at the Palm
Springs Film Festival. In it a little
boy from a starving family finds joy despite his poverty in a beloved dog named
Whitey. One day the kid comes home and is pleasantly surprised to find that his
mother has managed to cook up a big, delicious stew. Too overwhelmed to ask how
she managed it, he eats his full. Only then does he look around and ask,
Needless to say, it was the highlight of the movie. In the spirit of Whitey then, I present this year's award to the iguanas in Werner
Herzog in "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans." Amazingly, they were able
to upstage Nicolas Cage in his most scenery eating performance since he ate a
cockroach in "Vampires Kiss." Something that not even Val Kilmer was able to do.
The choice was a tough one, however. Here are some of the
great animal performances in competition:
The Fox, Deer and Crow, a.k.a Grief, Pain, and Despair, in
Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist"
The tiger in the hotel room in Todd Philips's "The Hangover"
The baby camel in the sidecar in Sergei Dvortsevoy's "Tulpan"
The escaped ostrich in Majid Majidi's "The Song of the
The dog in Bent Hamer's "O'Horten"
I know you're probably saying to yourself (the tiger in "The
Hangover" notwithstanding) that "this guy hates Hollywood
animals" or, to paraphrase one of my colleagues, "he only likes animal performances
with subtitles." Perhaps so. In which case please let me know what other
animals you think are more deserving of the "Where's Whitey?" award.