People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Tuesday announced the Hollywood actors and movies it is honoring this year for being animal-friendly with annual Oscats awards for Joaquin Phoenix, Cynthia Erivo and Tom Hanks.
And Disney’s The Lion King won for best picture for its “breathtaking CGI (computer-generated imagery) to portray its cast of wild-animal characters instead of exploiting a single real one,” the animal rights group said in its announcement, while the trophy for the best Hollywood movie using CGI of cats, rather than real animals, went to Universal’s Cats.
PETA recognized the CGI-heavy Cats movie directed by Tom Hooper for portraying its star-studded cast as digital, fur-covered humanoid felines, even though the Universal release was a box office dud.
Joker star Phoenix and Harriet star Cynthia Erivo both won best actor trophies, while the best screenplay trophy went to Tim Burton’s Dumbo for adding a more humane ending to the drama, rather than leave Dumbo and his mother imprisoned and exploited.
Phoenix was earlier named by PETA as its 2019 Person of the Year. And the animal rights group honored Tom Hanks for, at one point in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, relating Fred Rogers’ signature explanation for going meat-free: “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.”
Two films also won awards for themes opposing animal experimentation: Abominable was named best animated film, and The Animal People, which was executive produced by Phoenix and tells the true story of six advocates determined to expose one of the world’s largest animal-testing labs, nabbed the best documentary prize.
“PETA’s Oscats show that no decent filmmaker will force wild animals to perform — and animal-friendly messaging is what modern audiences want,” PETA senior vp Lisa Lange said in a statement.