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Canine Stars Shine Bright: Unveiling the Magic Behind the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards

magic behind the 2024 pawscars awards

Canine Stars Shine Bright: Unveiling the Magic Behind the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards


Benny, Reggie, and the Pawsome Stars: A Tale of Triumph at the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards

In a dazzling celebration of furry talent, the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards have left an indelible mark on the film industry, recognizing the exceptional performances of canine actors.

The event, which took place on February 16, 2024, has unveiled a remarkable journey of resilience, dedication, and a touch of magic within the world of dog cinema.

Strays Movie: Where Warmth Meets Comedy

Director Josh Greenbaum revealed the behind-the-scenes warmth on the set of the comedy film “Strays,” where the temperature drop below 70 degrees prompted the crew to bring in a heating pad for Benny, the Boston terrier portraying Bug. Despite Benny’s diva-like preferences, Greenbaum emphasized, “But his performance is great. So, whatever he needs for his process.”

PAWSCARS Glory for Strays

Unsurprisingly, “Strays” clinched multiple PAWSCARS Awards, marking a significant milestone in cinema history. A testament to the film’s uniqueness lies in its reliance on dog actors for nearly every aspect of the R-rated production. Notably, three out of four main characters were first-time actors, with Benny’s portrayal of Bug standing out, defying his tough, street dog persona.

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Reggie and Sophie: A Dynamic Duo

Reggie, portrayed by Border terrier Sophie, emerged as a standout lead, utilizing head tilts and varying walking paces to convey the emotional journey of a dog transitioning from naivety to newfound independence. Scenes such as Reggie crawling under a fence or Bug pulling off Reggie’s bandana exemplify the intricate combination of behaviors, requiring multiple takes and the expertise of dedicated trainers.

magic behind the 2024 pawscars awards

Sophie’s Solo Act

Sophie’s personal journey is equally fascinating. As a COVID puppy and the only one in her litter, she made her socialization debut on the film set. Mathilde de Cagny, a seasoned trainer on “Strays,” marveled at Sophie’s innate talent, stating, “She was like, ‘I’m made to do this.'”

Behind the Scenes: Crafting Authentic Performances

Creating a successful canine performance goes beyond executing behaviors; it involves genuine engagement. Trainer Bill Berloni, renowned for his work on shows like “And Just Like That,” emphasized the need for dogs to convey emotions seamlessly, making the trainer practically invisible to the audience.

Drama Unfolds: The Creator’s Powerful Canine Moment

In “The Creator,” a gripping drama, a small brown dog named Gollum steals the spotlight. Held at gunpoint, Gollum remains calm, mirroring the expression of a dog searching for its owner amidst chaos. Such powerful scenes underscore the emotional depth that canine actors can bring to cinematic storytelling.

Challenges Faced by Canine Actors

Behind the glamour, challenges persist for animal trainers. Red flags, such as panting, darting eyes, or hard stares, signal a dog’s discomfort on set. Trainers like Gill Raddings and Megan-Kate Hoover recounted instances where unforeseen circumstances, like smoke and unexpected smells, disrupted a dog’s preparedness, highlighting the need for a vigilant and protective approach.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 and the Art of Bonding

Not all films shy away from action-packed sequences involving dogs. “John Wick: Chapter 4” showcases the bond between Tracker, played by multiple dogs, and the stuntmen. Director Chad Stahelski emphasized the necessity for stuntmen to bond with their canine co-stars over an extensive period, portraying a harmonious partnership.

Trainers’ Unsung Efforts and Challenges

While the final cut of films captivates audiences, the tireless efforts of animal trainers often go unnoticed. Trainers, dedicated to preparing dogs for specific scenes, face challenges such as unsafe working conditions and unforeseen additions to scenes. The trainers’ perspective sheds light on the need for better working conditions, recognition, and fair compensation.

The Heart of the Matter: Animals Bring Magic to Sets

In an industry where the spotlight often eludes them, animal trainers, motivated by passion and artistry, continue to contribute to powerful, life-changing performances. Despite the challenges and the absence of accolades, trainers like Bill Berloni express a deep commitment to their craft, highlighting the enchanting magic that animals bring to film sets.

PAWSCARS 2024 Awards: An Initiative by Newsweek

In recognition of the invaluable contributions of canine actors and their trainers, Newsweek introduces the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards. Eligible films must meet specific criteria, including domestic release and Oscar eligibility, ensuring a fair evaluation of the best performances by dogs in leading roles.

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For more details and updates on the 2024 PAWSCARS Awards, stay tuned to Newsweek.

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