The PETA Oscats: Check Out 2018’s Most Animal-Friendly Films and Stars

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6 min read

While the Academy was distracted trying to find someone—anyone, really—to host this year’s Oscars ceremony, here at PETA we’ve been laser-focused on the outstanding films and stars who stood up for animals in 2018.

PETA’s Animals in Film and Television Division is once again honoring those who showed compassion for animals with the PETA Oscats. This year’s winners join the ranks of past recipients, including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which won for Best Computer-Generated Imagery, and Frances McDormand, who secured a Best Actress Award for kindly rescuing a bug in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

We’re pawsitively thrilled to announce the winners:

There’s an embarrassment of animal-friendly riches in Black Panther. Computer-generated panthers and rhinos were deployed instead of forcing real animals to perform. Star Chadwick Boseman reportedly went vegan during training for the action flick. And the kick-ass Jabari tribe is vegetarian.

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut has PETA applauding. Instead of using a dog supplied by an abusive training facility, he cast his own adorable dog, Charlie, in the film. A (dog) star is born—and best of all, he’s a member of the family, not a prop!

Committed vegan and longtime PETA supporter Natalie Portman‘s compassionate influence has a ripple effect, inspiring everyone from her stunt team on Annihilation to her costume designer for Vox Lux. Since creating an all-vegan wardrobe for Portman on the latter film (including a custom purple pleather jacket), her costume designer is considering using vegan costumes for all her projects. She also applauded Portman for having morals and sticking to them.

Winston Duke, who plays Jabari tribe leader M’Baku in Black Panther, had audiences laughing out loud when he deadpans, “[O]ne more word, and I will feed you to my children. I’m kidding. We are vegetarians.” Although this one-liner spawned many spoofs, Duke told Variety, “[I]t’s kind of teaching kids that eating vegetables is cool, which I’m all for.” The actor even said that his dream amusement park would include a vegetarian cafeteria.

Those amazing action scenes in Annihilation? They were made possible by an all-vegan stunt team. Said the movie’s star, Natalie Portman, a vegan herself, “[T]hey were like the most ripped, athletic, people…hardcore, highest performance. Definitely possible, definitely healthy.”

The filmmakers had us just at the title of Isle of Dogs, but then, Wes Anderson went and stole our hearts (again) by using imaginative stop-motion animation (instead of casting real dogs from dubious suppliers) and recruiting the vocal talents of animal-friendly actors like Tilda Swinton and Liev Schreiber, an outspoken advocate of adopting homeless dogs. Even Anjelica Huston made the credits as the voice of a “mute poodle”!

Like its blockbuster predecessors, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom emphatically gets across the message that exploiting captive animals for entertainment and profit, à la SeaWorld, is cruel and dangerous. And it does so without exploiting any actual animals in the production. Dino-might!

When the title character in Love, Simon is asked to evoke an unpleasant feeling, he’s told to “think of something really sad, like that documentary about how all the whales hate living at SeaWorld.” Yep, that’ll do it. Talk amongst yourselves.

This deep-sea adventure starring PETA pal and vegan Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, and a school of computer-generated sharks shows that the most dangerous predator in the water has feet, not fins. After seeing how humans trash the ocean and cut off sharks’ fins for soup—leaving them to bleed to death slowly—audiences found themselves rooting for the megalodon.

The hunter becomes the hunted in director and PETA supporter Andy Serkis‘ take on Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale. Not only does Mowgli use award-worthy computer-generated imagery instead of forcing real animals to “perform,” it also takes on the horrors of trophy hunting and lets an abused elephant give a cruel killer his due. Let’s just say, an elephant never forgets.

Real men wouldn’t be caught dead in real fur, as stylishly proved by Donald Glover’s dashing Lando Calrissian, who sports an iconic faux-fur coat in Solo.

Viewers get a double dose of honesty about the plight of chickens on modern farms in Tully. In one scene, the babysitter explains to kids that “[c]hicken nuggets are full of growth hormones. Do you know what they do to the chickens at factory farms? They slice off their beaks with a hot blade so the chickens can’t peck each other.” In another scene, star Charlize Theron, a longtime PETA supporter, acknowledges to her kids that killing chickens for food is “murder.”

This gripping documentary chronicles professional plant-based climber Alex Honnold‘s free solo climb of Yosemite National Park’s famed El Capitan. It’s the first time anyone has successfully climbed the 3,000-foot vertical rock face without ropes or safety gear, and Honnold did it in just under four hours. (Guides recommend allotting four days for the climb!) Caps off to him for defying death in his climb and for his diet.

Fred Rogers was the embodiment of kindness and empathy, so it’s no surprise that everyone’s favorite television neighbor was an ethical vegetarian. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a powerful tribute to Rogers’ life and legacy, including his acclaimed show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in which he taught generations of children about important subjects, including healthy, humane eating. (Who could forget the episode in which Picture Picture shows how tofu is made?)

Legendary Marvel comic book writer, publisher, and editor Stan Lee not only co-created some of the most iconic superheroes but also imagined a universe in which they help the most vulnerable and adhere to a strong ethical code. In the Ultimate Avengers animated movie, for example, Thor protests against slaughtering whales and sends the would-be killers back to port. And in one X-Men issue, the characters experience the thoughts, pain, and fear of an abused dog, thanks to Jean Grey’s telepathic abilities. Lee’s characters are motivated by a sense of justice, and some of them—including M’Baku from Black Panther—never eat animals. Marvel has even introduced two vegan superheroes: Thunderbird and Karolina. For creating characters who inspired a generation of fans to act with compassion and stand up against injustice, Lee was a real-life hero.


What You Watch Matters

These days, we have an endless supply of captivating films and documentaries at our disposal, available 24/7. It’s easy to support the ones that don’t use real wild animals—and even easier to avoid the ones that do. Be sure to contact your favorite studios and share your support of their animal-friendly messaging and use of computer-generated imagery—or let them know why you’re no longer watching their movies.

Note: “Oscar,” “Oscars,” “Academy Award,” and “Academy Awards” are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which isn’t affiliated or associated with PETA, nor does it endorse, sponsor, or otherwise approve of PETA’s Oscats.

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