Move over, Oscars, there’s an awards body that actually appreciates genre film. That’s right, we’re talking about PETA’s film awards, the Oscats. After a long awards season that ended up with only a few scant nominations going to the world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, it’s nice to see a little respect — even if it comes from an unexpected place.
The Oscats honor “those who showed compassion for animals” over the course of the past cinematic year, with plenty of this year’s winners coming from the world of CGI-heavy genre. Sure, that’s because when things get fantastical, it fits into the aesthetic to use animated animals instead of live ones that could suffer unethical treatment, but it’s also because the people behind the scenes walk the walk.
Black Panther took home The Cat’s Meow (aka Best Picture) thanks to its vegetarian Jabari tribe, CGI animals, and star Chadwick Boseman’s veganism during his preparation for the role. His co-star Winston Duke got Best Actor thanks to leading the aforementioned Jabaris as M’Baku and his real-life affirmations about his quippy tough guy’s eating habits. And you couldn’t talk Marvel without talking about the late Stan Lee. Lee was honored for helping create a world of compassionate superheroes that showed off various PETA values in their many, many media iterations.
Underappreciated Annihilation got plenty of awards attention from PETA as well, thanks to star Natalie Portman’s longtime support of the organization. These awards never said they weren’t biased, but it’s nice to see that some awards bodies watched the killer sci-fi film from Ex Machina director Alex Garland. Portman took home Best Actress, while the film’s all-vegan stunt team won top honors.
Now, here’s where things get weird. A few of the awards not only celebrate the use of CGI animals instead of real, suffering animals, but celebrate animals that enact vengeance upon humans and give them some bloody comeuppance. The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Mowgli all won for their killer creatures — like when the latter’s elephant takes out trophy hunter John Lockwood.
Fan can see if Black Panther will ride this late-in-the-game awards buzz all the way to the Oscars when they air on Feb. 24.