7 Oscar Worthy Animals

VIDEO:  Lara Spencer explains what has people buzzing on the "GMA" Pop News Heat Index.
ABCNEWS.com

"Hugo" may be leading the nominations for this year's Academy Awards, but the film's director Martin Scorsese is lamenting that one of its stars has been left out among the accolades. It's Blackie, the doberman.

In a cheeky op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, Scorsese baldly campaigned for the doberman, who, he writes, "gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children" and ought to be considered for the first ever Golden Collar Awards for Best Dog in a Theatrical Film.

FULL COVERAGE: The 2012 Oscars

Dog Daily News, a website that covers canines in Hollywood, jumped into the awards fray two weeks ago when it announced nominations for best dog performances in five categories. Uggie, a Jack Russell, is leading the pack, after receiving two Golden Collar nods for "The Artist" and "Like Water for Elephants."

Additionally, there are plenty of folks -- 10,000 on Movieline.com's Facebook page at last count -- who think Uggie ought to be considered for much more, say, an Oscar.

Responding to Scorsese, Dog Daily News said it was willing to take far fewer signatures, just 500 by Feb. 6, to add Blackie's name as a sixth nominee.

"It is awards gone wild," Yahoo.com's contributing film editor Thelma Adams told ABCNews.com, adding that she feels "very strongly" that animals should not be included among the Academy's list of nominees.

"I'm completely happy if there are separate animal awards, like it would be really smart if someone did the ASPCA awards to raise money for homeless animals," she said.

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Still, it's unusual to see so many four-legged thespians among this year's Oscar-nominated films, not to mention the growing off-screen rivalry between Uggie, Blackie and Cosmo, the other Jack Russell in "Beginners."

"It's just coalesced," Adams said. "It's almost like saying, 'Why does Jessica Chastain seem to be in every movie this year?' They just happened to all come out.

"And people like animal movies," Adams added. "It goes back to Lassie, back to the first movies ever made. One of the first motion pictures was of a moving horse photographed in 1878 by Eadweard Muybridge."

From Muybridge to Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," click through to see six other animals worthy of an Oscar.

PHOTO: The Artist
Weinstein Company
Uggie in 'The Artist'

There is a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding the silent film, "The Artist." And many people believe the canine sidekick is a major factor. The dog, who is nameless in the film, was played by Uggie, a 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, who has since developed an almost cult following, including Twitter and Facebook, pages.

PHOTO: Jeremy Irvine stars in the Steven Spielberg directed "War Horse."
Courtesy Dreamworks
Joey in 'War Horse'

Joey, the thoroughbred horse in "War Horse," was played by a total of 10 horses to display his journey from foal to adult. But one particular stallion, in one of the film's most heart-wrenching scenes, appeared Oscar-worthy. Joey was trapped in barbed wire, with fear visible in his eyes. Unlike an untrained horse, Joey did not panic.

"To get this effect, a lot of desensitization is used with horses," said Nancy Novograd, owner of All Tame Animals Inc., an animal talent agency in New York City.

"I've never done anything like it before. I had more control over ET," director Steven Spielberg joked. "But Joey behaved, Joey was great. But then Joey started doing things that weren't expected. A lot of his performance is improvisational."

PHOTO: The Beginners
Focus Features
Cosmo from 'Beginners'

Cosmo, who played Arthur alongside Ewan McGregor, in "Beginners," is the other Jack Russell this awards season and his other co-star, Christopher Plummer, won't let you forget it. Plummer, who's up for a best supporting actor Oscar, snubbed Uggie at the Golden Globes and has been talking trash about "The Artist" sidekick.

"Well, you see, I think our dog was much more human, and actually much more professional, than Uggie," Plummer told The New York Times. "Uggie was such a circus dog. You never got to know him inside. The true Uggie never came out. Cosmo, yeah, heart on sleeve." Asked why he refused to pose next to Uggie at the Globes, Plummer said, "I'm jealous. I wanted Cosmo to be up there, too."

PHOTO: "We Bought a Zoo"
Twentieth Century Fox
Bart from 'We Bought a Zoo'

There were plenty of scene-stealing animals in the Matt Damon film "We Bought a Zoo," but Bart, a 1,200-pound grizzly bear, stands out. The scene between Bart, who played Buster in the film, and Damon were shot on separate screens, but Bart was totally acting anyway. "He only acts ferocious and growling. It's a trained behavior. They dub in the roar," his trainer Doug Seus told USA Today.

PHOTO: "The Hangover Part II"
Warner Bros.
Crystal from 'The Hangover Part II' and 'We Bought a Zoo'

Crystal, the Capuchin monkey, has more than 20 films under her name but hit the big time this year with "The Hangover Part II."

"She's amazing," star Ken Jeong raved at the Hollywood premiere of "The Hangover." "She's not a monkey, she's an actor. And quite possibly the best actor I've worked with."

Crystal, who got her start in 1997's "George of the Jungle," had a busy year, also starring in "Zookeeper" and "We Bought a Zoo."

PHOTO: Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) and Jacob (Robert Pattinson) come together through their compassion for a special elephant named Rosie.
Twentieth Century Fox
Tai in 'Water for Elephants'

Tai, who played Rosie, the circus elephant in "Water for Elephants," was as much a star as Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

"The day I had to say goodbye to her, I wept all day," Witherspoon told the Los Angeles Times. "You work with actors and directors, but to have this nonverbal complete relationship with an animal that we were all very connected to was very magical."

The magic was somewhat tarnished by allegations that Tai had been abused by her trainers using bull hooks and electric shock devices and a lawsuit filed by Animal Defenders International against the film's producers. Late last year, the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge and Tai's trainers and the producers have maintained that the allegations were false.

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