Team Uggie! As those who have seen 'The Artist' already know, the silent film from director Michel Hazanavicius achieves many seemingly impossible goals -- like making a silent film relevant and enjoyable to 2011 tastes and sensibilities -- though perhaps none greater than Uggie. Whereas most films use animals as a schmaltzy crutch or cheap joke, Uggie the dog is central to the rise and fall of George Valentin, the silent film star in 'The Artist' who gets pushed aside when talkies become en vogue. "I think this character, Uggie, is very important," said Hazanavicius, earnestly, to Moviefone during a recent intervew. "He's the only other character that doesn't speak, because he's a dog. But, it's his best friend. I think it's really on a deep level, but I think it makes sense." It does! Uggie -- like Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo -- is wonderful! So: where's the awards buzz?
Thanks to the great S.T. VanAirsdale at Movieline, right here: "Retrograde union and Academy rules may prohibit [an Oscar nomination] for Uggie in categories historically reserved for humans, but it's time for critics and awards bodies like NBR and the Golden Globes to take a good hard look into Uggie's huge eyes and huger talent and reverse the discriminatory trend that prohibits recognition of this level of animal artistry." Amen, son!
To help the cause, VanAirsdale has created a "Consider Uggie" Facebook page, as well as a Twitter hashtag (#consideruggie). While you might think this is a lark, note that New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick pushed for the New York Film Critics Circle to honor the eight-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. "Biggest #NYFCC disappointment: no special award for best performance of 2011, Jack Russell terrier in 'The Artist,'" Lumenick wrote on Twitter.
This can happen! Head over to Movieline to get your Team Uggie paraphernalia, and like that Facebook page. Uggie might not win an Oscar, but that doesn't mean he can't receive some critical love. There just needs to be one critics group man (and woman) enough to stand up for a dog.
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