In the Academy Award-nominated and already quite awards-bedecked silent French film The Artist, the titular character is seldom found on or off screen without his little trick-performing dog whom he uses to win people over. It's a cheap but effective ploy. After all, who doesn't love a cute Jack Russell terrier doing cute tricks? (Monsters, that's who.) But now the real-life dog, Uggie, is being used as a very similar kind of prop, but with a much more cynical goal in mind: Sweet, sweet Oscars.
Hasn't Uggie been everywhere recently? He made a splash on stage at the Golden Globes, his retirement is being written about in newspapers of record, and he's already in a feud with an Academy Award-nominated actor. Yes, Christopher Plummer has bravely spoken out publicly about how Cosmo, the Jack Russell terrier in his movie Beginners, gave a better performance than darling old Uggie. This dog has gotten so big that he's having well-publicized celebrity spats. He's a huge asset to The Artist's month-long Oscar push, orchestrated of course by the master and inventor of the game, Harvey Weinstein.
Can't you picture at least one strategy meeting in which Harvey, chomping on a cigar, speculated about putting the dog on talk shows, in magazines, etc.? For Your Dogsideration? Or, you know, something better than that. And you can't help but feel a little bad for poor Uggie. He has no idea what's going on, he's just a dog who's probably a little tired from being carted all over the world and made to do tricks on red carpets. And here he is, caught up in the great wehrmacht of an awards campaign, used just as blatantly in the literal world as he is in the fictional world of The Artist.
Is used to be that it was seen as quite tacky to lobby for awards, but now everyone's gotten so shameless about it they're even willing to go for the oldest, cheapest trick in the book, an adorable animal. What's next, Anne Geddes "For Your Consideration" campaign photos? Sick children lying in hospital beds waxing rhapsodic, and pleadingly, about The Hobbit? Uggie's great of course (though, Cosmo was pretty good...), but in this application he represents something grim and terrible. Terrible and grim! The fate of the entertainment industry lies in his paws! Or rather his trainer's. Or Harvey Weinstein's. Or maybe nobody's. Maybe it's just a cute dog and we're just talking about movie awards anyway so what does it all matter. But we swear, if we see one "I Can Haz Oskar?" poster, that's it. We're boycotting.