I'm pleased to report that this has been a good year for
roles for women, and the Academy will have its hands full trying to narrow the
field down to only five nominees for Best Actress and Supporting Actress. That's
progress: hurray for Hollywood!
On the other hand, it wasn't such a good year for animals. In fact, there were so few noteworthy roles for animals in this year's releases that in
choosing the competition for the "Where's
Whitey?" Award for Best Animal Performance I've had to resort to nominating performances
in films I haven't seen, and even in one case a performance by an entrée.
And for those who don't remember, the name of the award
refers to South Korean director Kim Tae-kyun's "Crossing" in which a little
boy from a starving family finds joy 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 delicious stew. Overwhelmed with joy, he gobbles it up. Then he looks around and asks,
A tough act to follow. Anyway, here's this year's list of nominees:
The sheep in "Sweetgrass"
If not an award for the sheep who opens the film by staring
with Mona Lisa-like elusiveness into the camera, then maybe an ensemble award for the
The cattle egret in "Alamar"
It's not every film in which you fall in love with a character
who eats cockroaches. Nicolas Cage in "Vampire's Kiss" excepted.
Secretariat in "Secretariat"
I didn't see it but everyone has said good things about the
horse, or horses, playing the part. Nonetheless, I wouldn't bet on it.
The prawn in "I Am Love"
The scene in which Tilda Swinton eats this delectable
crustacean and the opening shot of the
snowy night vista of Milan
are the film's highlights.
Little Blackie in "True Grit"
"There never lived a nobler pony," says Mattie Ross, and by the end
of the film you will agree. Plus, nominating this performance makes it possible to present the
"Where's Whitey?" award to an animal named Blackie.
Who will win? Let the voting begin. Otherwise, I'll just run the
nominees past my cat and let him decide.