The Academy Awards may reward the year’s best films according to Hollywood standards, but how about the movies that best advanced animal rights? PETA has created its own award for the best animal-friendly films and actors.
Here are their picks for the best in their category.
Best in CGI: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. In addition to creating a 100 percent digital jungle full of effervescent elephants and hulking hippos, this marvel of computer-generated imagery (CGI) managed to do what no one expected: outdo the trailblazing original.
Best Original Screenplay: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The writers of this epic story wove in messages of compassion for animals: Two characters set free fathiers (horse-like creatures) used for racing, and Chewbacca chooses not to eat a porg (a bird-like creature) after seeing a group of porgs weep over their dead companion.
Best Animated Feature: Ferdinand. This bull won hearts and served as a reminder that real bulls pick flowers, not fights.
Best Live-Action Film: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Not only does this film include positive animal rights messages—encouraging kindness toward every species in every galaxy and showing that true heroes help animals and don’t hurt them—it also uses CGI animals.
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro. The Shape of Water is a film that encourages equal consideration and kindness for others, without exploiting live animals. Guillermo’s brilliant movie The Book of Life also includes pro-veg and anti-bullfighting messages, so we know that he has a soft spot for animals, and we’re grateful for that aspect of his work!
Best Actress: Frances McDormand. In the film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a grieving mom with a gruff exterior shows her soft side: She thoughtfully puts a bug who’d fallen onto his back gently on his feet. Yes, PETA noticed.
Best Actor: Andy Serkis for War for the Planet of the Apes and Doug Jones for The Shape of Water. Thanks to Andy’s brilliant performance as Caesar the chimpanzee, no real great apes were forced to perform for this film. (Are The Square‘s filmmakers paying attention?) He has also advocated for great apes used in the entertainment industry and campaigned for a chimpanzee languishing at a roadside zoo. As Amphibian Man, Doug gracefully portrayed the sadness and desperation of being abused and chained—the harsh reality for animals in laboratories and circuses or who are kept chained up in backyards.
Best Documentary: What the Health. The film is prompting more people to go vegan and therefore saving countless animals.
Best Costume: Blade Runner 2049. Ryan Gosling’s shearling-free coat in the movie is all vegan.
Rising Star: Okja. A young girl’s journey to save her best friend—a fascinating “super-pig” named Okja—turned the bacon obsession on its head. Just like Esther the Wonder Pig, Okja is changing the world one heart at a time.
PETA Pick: Mother! and Ladybird. Darren Aronofsky, one of Hollywood’s most talented directors, doesn’t exploit live animals in his films and Ladybird: Why? Because Ladybird and star Saoirse Ronan, who spoke in favor of closing Irish fur farms; and Laurie Metcalf.