Since A Star is Born was released this week, the emotional film starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is sending audiences home in tears over its sheer beauty. On top of the incredible vocal and dramatic performances from its leads, moviegoers got an extra treat. Cooper's very own pup, Charlie, steals hearts in A Star is Born and has fans advocating for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the pup. The animal activist organization PETA has also taken notice and is praising Cooper for his decision to cast his own animal companion in the film.
Per an official statement from the organization, Bradley Cooper will receive PETA's inaugural "Compassion in Film Award" for including Charlie in A Star is Born instead of using a dog supplied by one of Hollywood's animal exhibitors. In its statement, PETA called out industry animal trainer Birds & Animals Unlimited, which was investigated by the organization in 2016. The findings showed the supplier mistreated its animals by keeping them outside in cold temperatures and often denying them food. The organization also took the opportunity to bring to attention the often mistreatment of animals on film sets.
PETA has been an keen voice for animals on film sets, particularly last year leading up to the release of A Dog's Purpose. The family film centering on the connection between dogs and humans was condemned following a video obtained from TMZ, showing the mistreatment of a German Shepherd who was being forced into a pool of rushing water. PETA called for a boycott of the film, although investigations by American Humane concluded that the video wasn't on the set of A Dog's Purpose. While the film was impacted by the controversy, it still opened at #2 at the box office, taking home $204 million worldwide.
More recently PETA has targeted the television show Yellowstone after a whistleblower claimed the series used actual cow corpses instead of using props or fakes. The organization called for Paramount executives to cut all scenes featuring the mistreated animals and commit to using props and special effects instead.
With headlines concerning PETA and Hollywood films usually at odds, it's a nice change of pace to see the organization recognizing the proper treatment of animals on film sets. Last year, the organization created its own award recognition called the PETA Oscats, where it praised the best family-friendly films and stars of the year. It awarded both Mother! and Ladybird as their movie picks, along with other awards, including giving Ryan Gosling recognition for his shearling-free coat in Blade Runner 2049.
As more audiences flock to see A Star is Born this weekend, they can rest easy that Bradley Cooper's adorable dog companion wasn't mistreated with his adorable and precious performance alongside Cooper and Lady Gaga.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.