Dogs make everything more fun and Dog News Daily's First Annual Golden Collar Awards was no exception. In 15 years of covering awards, we've never seen a wilder red carpet and more happy, well-trained actors and actresses. And we've never seen so many smiles on humans and dogs alike.
Attempts were made to give each dog his-or-her own "personal space" as they walked the carpet with their costars or trainers. Still, it was often nose-to-tail as the dogs talked to TV crews, print and online outlets -- but no dog fights or bitchiness, unlike some awards shows we could name. And there was only one small "accident" backstage. We won't name names.
There were dogs big and small, from Norman, the giant scooter-riding hound to Tillie, the skateboarding Bulldog, to Modern Family's French Bulldog Brigitte to itty-bitty Pomeranian Real Housewives star Giggy and Jack Russell Uggie, who walked away with top honors; best dog in a feature film for his role in The Artist.
Dog fashion was quite the topic on the red carpet, which was streamed exclusively on The Hollywood Reporter. Even THR's Fash Track mascot Posy, was asked by reporters about her rainbow satin-lined swarovski crystal couture from PawsomeDogz.com, designed by Julee Ellison. And Posy caused many guests to do doubletakes, thanks to a tote featuring her painted portrait from artist Tricia St. Amant, available at SugarSpiceArt.com.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Adrienne Maloof and Lisa Vanderpump brought their pampered pooches, Jackpot and Giggy. Vanderpump's husband told THR that he had personally decorated Giggy’s formal sweater. We spotted a Cavalier Spaniel at the RH table during the awards who was wearing a gown and a tiara. Lamb Chop, the rescue poodle mix from Suburgatory, looked lovely in her purple satin vest with her trademark pale pink celebrity shades. And one woman was wheeling her gussied up dog around in a baby stroller. We didn't ask why.
Uggie chose an elegant ruffler style dog tuxedo, stylish, comfortable and good for photo ops. Jacqueline Emerson's Irish Setter, Ginger, skipped the gowns to better show off her long fur that matches The Hunger Games star's auburn tresses. "I keep telling people that Ginger is not in Hunger Games. Emerson explained. "She's just my dog and I wanted to bring her."
We found out backstage that Uggie may be a big star but he has a normal dog's life with his trainer Omar Von Mueller's family and their other dogs. The 10-year-old pooch is retiring from feature films but will still do commercials and videos. He suffers from White Dog Shaker Syndrome, which causes slight leg tremors when he's tired, which was visible when he stood on the THR podium with his brother Dash, who appeared in a few scenes of Artist.
Here's the best backstage scoop: Another Jack Russell, Dude, rescued from a Big Bear shelter, also appeared in two memorable scenes in The Artist: The scene where the dog runs to fetch a policeman to save his distraught owner George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). The other was the scene in which Valentin's wife (Penelope Ann Miller) slaps a newspaper on the breakfast table. Seems Uggie did not like that one bit. It was more like, "Ohnoshedidn't."
So Sarah brought in Dude and purposely did not rehearse the scene. Cameras were rolling when Dude sat with Dujardin when Miller slapped the newspaper. A momentarily horrified Dude cowered, giving a magnificent impromptu performance. Dude now lives with his forever family, loves his non-celebrity existence and his owners love the fact that they have an amazingly well-trained dog that falls down dead when they point their index finger at him.
“Artist” co-stars James Cromwell, Missi Pyle and Beth Grant were also in attendance to support their animal co-star Uggie. “I’m delighted to be here because I owe my career to a pig,” Cromwell, the star of Babe, explained. "Uggie is an integral part of the film and he richly deserves this award."
Hugo director Martin Scorsese -- who had slammed the rumors about Blackie's CGI-enhanced performance -- appeared via video. Paramount brought two nattily tuxedoed Blackie stand-ins to the event. The real Blackie couldn’t make the long flight from his home in London, where the film was actually shot. Red Dog star Koko sent in a captioned video barking his gratitude to the Goldlen Collar Academy for his Best Dog in a Foreign Film win.
Brigitte, who plays Stella on Modern Family, won for best dog on a scripted TV series. Tiny Giggy and Pit Bull Hercules from Pit Boss tied for best dog in a reality TV series.
Hercules was quite vocal throughout the show. As one announcer joked, "This is the first time I've been heckled by a dog." But co-winner Giggy calmly laid down on the Bravo table after winning his golden collar. He was far more interested in crumbled treats from the Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance doggy bags that held a mountain of healthy natural foods, chewies, kibble, travel calming pills, breath fresheners, dog videos and NB coupons.
Of Giggy’s win, the sultry Vanderpump proclaimed, "He’s the only gigalo I sleep with. And I’ll be wearing the Golden Collar later tonight. With a pair of stilettos.”
Look away, Giggy. Look away.
Full Disclosure: Elizabeth Snead served as a 2012 Golden Collar Awards judge and she is Posy's human.