Monkey is top dog among animal actors Crystal the monkey poses at the premiere of "The Hangover Part II" at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood in 2011 (AP photo / Reuters)
Monkey is top dog among animal actors
Lexile

A monkey who's starred in 25 movies over two decades was top dog at the sixth annual Pawscars. It is the animal version of the Oscars. Waving a statue over her head in triumph, a beaming Crystal accepted the "lifetime diva achievement award." The monkey looked every bit the part. She wore a pink, floor-length gown and necklace during the show. It was streamed online.

The Capuchin monkey played a Ben Stiller-slapping, key-stealing primate in "Night at the Museum." The primate also played a drug-dealing monkey in "Hangover Part II." Crystal is "the Angelina Jolie of animal stars," said "NCIS" actress Pauley Perrette. She hosted the show with teen actor Lou Wegner.

Holding her tiny hand, Perrette asked the prolific primate: "So Crystal, you have starred with some of the top leading men of all times Bradley Cooper, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, Robin Williams. Did you have a favorite?"

Crystal nodded as her "answer" appears on screen: "Robin did call me his favorite leading lady, but my favorite leading man has to be my trainer Tom Gunderson."

The show honors other animal actors in categories such as best puppy under pressure and best supporting equine.

Animal award shows have grown in popularity. Pets already took the limelight at the World Dog Awards, the Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday, and the Westminster dog show.

Unlike the Oscars, the Pawscars are far more low-key. The hosts announced the awards from armchairs in Perrette's Hollywood guest house. Crystal perched on a nearby ottoman. Other winners were sent an official Pawscars certificate and special treat.

Praise for animals on set doesn't come without detractors. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says live animals don't belong in film and TV work. The American Humane Association, the group hosting the Pawscars, has a 75-year-old program that ensures the safety of animal actors. The association gives its approval by allowing the familiar "No Animal Was Harmed" tagline in movie credits.

Other Pawscars include:

BEST YOUNG ANIMAL PERFORMER

A trio of pit bull puppies won. The dogs appeared in the late James Gandolfini's last film, "The Drop." It took T, Puppers, Ice and a makeup artist to bring to life Rocco. That's the name of the dog that appears in the mob drama. Puppies grow so fast that the film needed three. Non-toxic makeup was used to make them match.

BEST SUPPORTING EQUINE

The award went to Dale. He's a horse in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" who carries the apes' leader. It looks like the apes ride bareback. That is thanks to special-effects markers on the saddles. The markers are removed in post-production, Perrette said. In scenes where the horses appear to be jumping over fire, they are actually jumping over a foot-high bar with flickering lights.

BEST AQUATIC PERFORMANCE

The honor went to Savannah, who plays a dolphin that dies in "Dolphin Tale 2." She avoided having to learn a death scene thanks to animatronics. As for the other marine life, the American Humane Association made sure no animal worked more than an hour without a break.

BEST ENSEMBLE

The animals of "Wild" prevailed. They include Muffet the horse, Dharma the fox, Fred the rattlesnake, Tess the dog, Sport the rabbit and Taiga the llama. In the film about a woman's solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, 40 frogs covered a sleeping Reese Witherspoon. A foot-high barrier surrounding her meant no single frog was lost, Wegner said.

Critical thinking challenge: In "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," why didn't the horses actually jump over fire?

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COMMENTS (112)
  • SierraM-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 03:21 p.m.

    In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes they didn't have the horses jump over real fire because it would be likely to scare or harm the horses.

  • anad-Koc
    2/27/2015 - 04:11 p.m.

    Cristal the monkey is my favorite. I love how it acts in movies, I think the parts she gets are funny. If I had a chance to meet her in person I would be so happy. I want a monkey as a pet and one day I will get myself one.

  • MiloW-4
    2/27/2015 - 07:04 p.m.

    At the sixth annual Pawscars, a female monkey named Crystal was one of the most famous animals that was there. Crystal has been in 25 movies in only two decades. She has been thought as the Angelina Jolie of animal actors. This is interesting that the animals in movies are getting attention and that people show there appreciation for staring in many films.

  • SebastianH-1
    2/27/2015 - 07:20 p.m.

    At the Pawscars show, Diamond the monkey was the big hit! The Pawscars is an awards ceremony for celebrity animals in movies. Diamond has had a long career in the movie business and has worked with some major stars. This article was great in format, but the part where it talked about other award recipients was not really necessary.

  • SofiaB-2
    2/27/2015 - 08:01 p.m.

    This short yet cool article seems to talk about a Pawscars streamed on the internet, its purpose was to give funny trophies to animals in movies. One animal, a monkey, has starred in over 25 movies and is well known in the Pawscars world. I think its really cute that this was set up and even a better idea.

  • BrynnDani
    2/28/2015 - 09:16 a.m.

    I had no idea that there was an Oscar for animals. They even dress the animals up for the red carpet and everything. I am familiar with many of the movies that the monkey starred in and it definitely made the movies funnier.

  • MaggieM-3
    2/28/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    People may have the Oscars but animals have the Pawscars, an awards show just for animal actors. This year Crystal, a deserving monkey won the Lifetime Diva Achievement Award, for starring in twenty- five movies over twenty years. Some of her best films are "Night at the museum " and "Hangover 2 ". She definitely looked the part of an award winning actress, wearing a floor-length pink gown and necklace, as she hosted the show show with Lou Wegner. The best young animal performer award went to a troop of pit bull puppies for their work in the film "The Drop". Dale a horse won the award for best supporting Equine for his performance in " Dawn of Planet of the Apes". Savannah, dolphin that dies in the film "Dolphin Tale Two" won the Best Aquatic Performance award. The Best Ensemble award went to the animals in " Wild". The awards show does have its critics however, often animal rights organizations that claim animals are not meant to be on film.
    I think that it is a generally cute idea. While in some ways I side with the critics, saying that it is not right to have animals in film is a point less statement, as long as people have pets there will be animals in film. I don't think that it is that bad of a policy to have animals in movies, as long as they are treated humanly.

  • rubelm-Koc
    3/01/2015 - 06:00 p.m.

    Monkeys are really close to being human and they can be a crazy pet or have lots of trouble caring for they have pros and cons .

  • jaelync
    3/02/2015 - 08:32 a.m.

    That monkey is really smart. And funny in some cases. he must be a good actress. the only movie i seen with him in it was the night of the museum....she did good for a monkey. she was as good as the humans were.

  • Chloe W.
    3/02/2015 - 09:11 a.m.

    Crystal the monkey played in over 25 movies... one movie is Night Of The Museum!! that is a good movie. he also plays on... the hangover part 2. she is a really good actor for when the museum comes to life at night. in the third movie for night of the museum she "died" for a few seconds but because of the tablet she came back to life... but in the movie crystal is a boy monkey named Dexter that is a funny key stealing monkey.but Larry "the night guard at the museum" still loves the monkey and is really sad when the tablet goes to the British museum and leaves the tablet there... i cant wait till the next movie to see where there is no tablet anymore well i don't know what it is about but i hope there is like another tablet or something like that but l cant wait to see the next movie i hope it is good...but i know it is gonna be it is really good its my favorite movie of all time!

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