Is the Movie Industry Guilty of ‘Dog Breed-ism’?

Martin Scorsese says Blackie, the dog featured in Hugo, was snubbed at the Golden Collar Awards because she's a "scary" Doberman

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Jaap Buitendijk / GK Films

Blackie appears with Sacha Baron Cohen in Martin Scorsese's Hugo

Update: Jan. 31, 12:25 p.m. E.T. Blackie is officially a Golden Collar nominee, according to Dog News Daily. She received over 500 write-in votes in less than a day. Looks like Scorsese’s campaign (and the work of Blackie’s many fans) paid off. The original story follows below.

Everyone always says it: the awards-show season is flawed. Safe, predictable choices often take top honors, while the brooding and more complex picks are prone to be left to the wayside.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

And this year is no exception. Just look at the nominees for first annual Golden Collar Awards, which, yes, are real awards. Blackie, the Doberman star of Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated film Hugo, was snubbed for Best Dog in a Theatrical Film category. Leading the pack was Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier, with two nominations: one for critically acclaimed The Artist and the other for Water for Elephants.

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A Hollywood stalwart like Scorsese isn’t going to take this type of overt prejudice lying down. He took to the pages of Sunday’s Los Angeles Times to pen a “for your consideration” editorial to vent his frustration. Sure, Uggie is cute and Blackie plays a menace who terrifies children, but as Scorsese says, nominations shouldn’t be handed out based on cuteness alone. He writes:

“We all have fond memories of Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, the big stars, the heroes, but what about the antiheroes? We have learned to accept the human antihero, but when it comes to dogs, I guess we still have a long way to go.”

Scorsese then goes on to point out breed prejudice, dropping some serious canine knowledge.

“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?”

As Gawker notes, the editorial is well written and pretty convincing. Scorsese calls on readers to let the organizer of the Golden Collar Awards, the online magazine Dog News Daily, know that breed prejudice will not be taken lightly.

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Editor Alan Siskind has responded to the challenge, saying Dog News Daily will do “what Mr. Scorsese so eloquently requests.” If Blackie gets 500 write-in nominations on the Dog News Daily Facebook page by Feb. 6, she will be added as the sixth nominee for the award, to be handed out on Feb. 13.

By the looks of it, Blackie is well on her way to a nomination. Several hundred people have already shown their support. Which pups will Blackie be up against? Watch the nomination announcement below.

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