The Award for Best Picture has had a handful of dog movies over the years, beginning in 1939 when The Wizard of Oz was nominated. Based on L Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel, Dorothy Gale’s (Judy Garland) Scottie Toto accompanies her on the journey through Oz.
In 1940, the Alfred Hitchcock-directed Rebecca won the category. Based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel about a young girl thrust into the shadowy world of high-class society, the one part of the estate of Manderley that Mrs De Winter feels comfortable with is the dogs, who take an instant liking to her. This element is present in the movie as well, though obviously much toned down, since it isn’t essential to the plot.
In 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird was nominated, based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel. Scout Finch (Mary Badham) and her brother Jem gain a new respect for their older, scholarly father Atticus (Gregory Peck) when he shoots a rabid dog roaming the neighborhood. For this scene’s importance, it was included in the movie as well.
In 1967, Doctor Doolittle was nominated, based on the book series by Hugh Lofting about an eccentric physician/veterinarian who can speak all animal languages. Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) played Dr Doolittle, who has a dog named Jip among his animal companions.
Fast-forwarding to 1990, the Kevin Costner film Dances With Wolves won the category, in addition to many other awards. Costner plays Lt John Dunbar, who was sent to evict Indians from the territory during westward expansion only to eventually become friendly with them. His affinity with wolves give him his Indian name, Dances With Wolves.
Up was nominated in 2009, this is one of Pixar‘s best, a story about a widower trying to rebuild his life by vacationing to South America. Along the way, a talkative overweight Golden Retriever named Doug (Bob Peterson) joins the unusual group that forms to prevent a trophy hunter and his pack of Dobermans from slaughtering a rare bird.
Toy Story 3 earned a nomination the next year; what we all thought was the perfect concluding chapter included Slinky Dog as a minor character, and the series also featured Andy’s Dachshund Buster as a secondary ally and Sid’s Staffy Scud as a secondary antagonist.
Roma was nominated in 2019, it’s a black and white Netflix film set in 1970s Mexico City. The family guard dog Borras appears in many scenes, which earned him several unofficial Dog Oscars.
Robert Mulligan was nominated for Best Director for To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962, Kevin Costner was nominated in 1990 for Dances With Wolves, and Alfonso Cuaron was nominated in 2019 for Roma.
Gregory Peck won Best Actor in 1962 for portraying Atticus in Mockingbird, and Costner’s role of Lt Dunbar earned a nomination for Dances With Wolves.
in 1940 Joan Fontaine was nominated for Best Actress for her role of Mrs De Winter in Rebecca, and in 2019 Yalitza Aparacio was nominated for her role of Cleo Gutierrez in Roma.
Best Supporting Actor
In 1990 Graham Greene was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role of Kicking Bird in Dances With Wolves, and five years later James Cromwell was nominated for his role of Farmer Hoggett in Babe, based on Dick King-Smith’s children’s novel The Sheep-Pig, where a pig becomes an accomplished sheepdog.
Best Supporting Actress
In 1940 Judith Anderson received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Rebecca as the highly unpleasant housekeeper Mrs Danvers. In 1962 Mary Badham was nominated for playing Scout in Mockingbird, and Julia Roberts was nominated 1889 for her role of Shelby Eatonton-Latcherie in Steel Magnolias (though Shirley MacLaine’s Wheezer owns the dog in that film).
Also, Mary McDonnell was nominated for her role of Stands With a Fist in Dances With Wolves, and in 2019 Marina De Tavira was nominated for her role of Sofia in Roma.