As some of us continue to lament Academy Awards snubs, Martin Scorsese has embarked on a nobler cause. The director of the Oscar-nominated Hugo feels that his film's dog, a Doberman named Blackie, was unfairly overlooked by the prestigious Golden Collar Awards. (Actually, these are the first annual Golden Collar Awards, but I treat all animal-related contests with the esteem they deserve.)
While Blackie received nary a single nomination, The Artist's Jack Russell terrier Uggie — AKA, the only thing that made the Golden Globes worth watching — received two. Turns out that little guy was also adorable in Water for Elephants. But that's not the point. The point is fairness. Scorsese felt so strongly about the snub that he wrote a "for your consideration" op-ed for today's Los Angeles Times, in which he shames us all for preferring Uggie to Blackie.
OK, let's lay all our cards on the table. Jack Russell terriers are small and cute. Dobermans are enormous and - handsome. More tellingly, Uggie plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master's life in one of the films, while Blackie gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children.
I had no idea I was so shallow. And the Golden Collar Awards should be ashamed, prizing cuteness over acting ability. Scorsese draws attention to Hugo's bathtub scene, "a masterpiece of underplaying, with Blackie's wonderfully aquiline face accentuated by the 3-D." He then goes on to enlighten us on breed prejudice — and I'll be honest, I actually learned something.
I detect another, more deep-seated prejudice at work. Jack Russell terriers were bred in the 19th century for the purposes of fox hunting by an Englishman, the Rev. John Russell. Dobermans were bred by a German tax collector who was afraid of being bludgeoned to death by the citizenry. But does that mean we must condemn the entire breed?
The op-ed is actually quite well written and (when taken in its intended tone) pretty amusing. But there is a point to all this. Scorsese urged LA Times readers to submit write-in votes for Blackie, and Doberman fans have made their voices heard. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dog News Daily editor Alan Siskind is offering Blackie a chance at earning what's rightfully hers.
If Blackie receives 500 write-in "NOMINATE HUGO'S BLACKIE" posts by Monday, February 6th, on Dog News Daily's Facebook page then the Golden Collar nominating committee will request that the panel of 14 judges add Hugo's Blackie as the 6th Nominee in the Best Dog in a Theatrical Film category.