As the 88th Annual Academy Awards approach this Sunday, and we look back on all of the talented nominees’ performances throughout the year, it’s impossible not to think of other, possibly more deserving, actors were left holding back tears and massaging their bruised egos because the Academy didn’t acknowledge their hard work with a nomination. In other words: they were SNUBBED.
Any cinephile can go on about the snubs they feel were the most egregious. But perhaps the most offensive oversight, year after year, is the total disregard of our beloved canine costars. Here’s a look back at the worst Oscar dog snubs of years past.
Benji, Benji the Hunted (1987)
This movie is basically the original The Revenant. Benji is lost in the Oregon wilderness and after narrowly escaping a grisly fate from a bear, goes on a mission to unite some orphaned cougar cubs with a foster cougar mother, all while running from a black Timber Wolf. And Benji carried this entire movie with NO DIALOGUE. SUCK IT, LEO.
Brinkley, You’ve Got Mail (2008)
Some say Tom Hanks still holds a grudge against Brinkley for his scene-stealing antics in the final shots of this rom-com, and used his influence to make sure Brinkley “never worked in this town again.” He’s a BORN STAR, Tom. Get over it.
Puffy, There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Though Puffy is a small role in the film, his performance stands out for its range and power. He starts off by calmly containing a simmering rage, holding back as much as he can until he goes into full-on attack mode in the blink of an eye. Such a versatile and dangerous performance! He makes J.K. Simmons in Whiplash look like a kindergarten teacher.
Warning: video contains some violence against a (fake) dog. If you have any warm feelings toward Ben Stiller this might destroy them.
Baxter, Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)
It takes a true pro to be the straight-dog in a comedy. So for Baxter, Ron Burgundy’s no-BS, bilingual BFF to not even crack a smile during Will Ferrell’s antics? A true feat (and he only has four)!
Shadow, Homeward Bound (1993)
I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to watch the final scene of Homeward Bound without shedding a tear. I can’t even think about it without weeping. Oh my god! When the little boy is waiting for Shadow and you think he didn’t make it but then he limps over the hill! Oh my god, I’m crying right now in this coffee shop. Oh my god. Everyone’s looking at me, oh my god!
Shiloh, Shiloh (1996)
As is the case with most dog movies, the filmmakers tried to make this story about some dumb little kid in ill-fitting tee-shirts. But Shiloh’s performance as a rescued abuse victim is far more nuanced: the pain in his sad little Beagle eyes. The stubborn lift of his furry chin, determined to stay strong in the face of his attacker. That cute little cast on his cute little leg because cute dogs with cute casts are cute.
Lassie, The Courage of Lassie (1946)
Okay, so a collie named Pal played the original Lassie, and in this movie Pal plays her offspring, Bill, in what just may be the meatiest role ever played by anyone ever – dog or human. Bill gets separated from his loving owner (Elizabeth Taylor) when he’s hit by a truck, and then somehow gets sent to FRIGGIN’ WORLD WAR II. He’s traumatized in battle and then goes AWOL, attacking animals and threatening people all over the damn place. Everyone wants to put him down and so he goes on TRIAL, but at the last minute, his lawyer spots Bill’s army tattoo and they realize he’s a war hero, so they save him from Death Row and let him recover from his PTSD with his beloved future-megababe owner.
I did not make this up. This is actually the plot of this film. Holy sh*t you guys, this is DARK. And yet, no nomination. What’s a dog gotta do?
Verdell, As Good As It Gets (1997)
Basically everyone in this stupid movie got a stupid Oscar nomination except Verdell, who is the instigator of the whole stupid story and is even on the stupid friggin’ poster. COME ON.
Marley, Marley and Me (2008)
Um… I hear this is good, but I refuse to watch it because *spoiler alert* Marley up and dies at the end. I CAN’T WATCH THAT OKAY?! HOW COULD I HANDLE THAT? WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME TO? WHY WOULD THE TRAILER MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A LIGHTHEARTED ROMP WHEN REALLY IT HAS THE WORST POSSIBLE ENDING FOR ANYTHING EVER? WHY!?!?
Old Yeller, Old Yeller (1957)
WHAT. DID. I. JUST. SAY?!?!?