Even dog actors can get awards in Tinseltown, and six pooches collected prizes at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards. The ceremony Monday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel proceeded like a traditional Hollywood-style awards show, with actors including NCIS star Pauley Perrette and Hot in Cleveland star Wendie Malick presenting trophies for the best dog performances on the big and small screens. Uggie, the four-legged star of The Artist, was named top dog in a movie.
His owner-trainer, Omar Von Muller, was on hand to accept the award. Von Muller said the Jack Russell terrier, who stole hearts in the silent film that’s up for 10 Academy Awards, is a “great performer, but he’s also a great family member.” “He sleeps with us,” Von Muller said.
The Golden Collar Awards, dreamed up by Alan Siskind of the website dognewsdaily.com, drew other stars of The Artist, including James Cromwell and Missi Pyle, as well as studio representatives and media outlets from around the world. “I’m delighted to be here because I owe my career to a pig,” said Cromwell, who also played the farmer in Babe.
The ceremony walked a fine line between being a farce of an awards show and a meaningful recognition of dog and trainer achievements. Proceedings were broadcast online by the Hollywood Reporter, and Siskind said he expects the ceremony to be televised next year.
Martin Scorsese, who wrote an editorial in the Los Angeles Times that inspired a write-in campaign for the Doberman in his Oscar-nominated movie Hugo, appeared at the ceremony by video. His star dog, Blackie, lost out to Uggie, who was nominated twice in his category (for both The Artist and Water for Elephants.)
Other winners included French bulldog Brigitte, who plays Stella on TV’s Modern Family, and Hercules of Pit Boss, who tied with Giggy of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for best dog in a reality television series. Their respective owners accepted the awards. Shorty Rossi, star of Pit Boss, noted, “This is the first time a pit bull’s been nominated for anything.”
Elizabeth Snead, an entertainment journalist who served as a Golden Collar judge, said the dog-awards show is more exciting than the Oscars. “Everybody identifies with the dogs,” she said, holding her Maltese, Posey. “And it makes it more accessible for humans who don’t really care about awards season.”