There wasn’t much to celebrate about the year 2020, but there were some good boys and girls — by which we mean dogs and cats — that helped make things a little better.
It’s time to recognize the animals and movies that helped get us through the year from hell:
BEST LIVE-ACTION MOVIE: “FIRST COW“
“First Cow” is not only the best live-action animal movie of 2020, but it features THE MOST SOULFUL PERFORMANCE BY A COW. While we love John Magaro and Orion Lee, the human stars of Kelly Reichardt’s gentle indie western, it’s Eve the cow who really steals our heart. Especially the way she warms up to Cookie Figowitz (Magaro), who’s secretly milking her by night to keep his baking business afloat. For more about Eve, read All About Eve, the Star of ‘First Cow’
BEST ANIMATED MOVIE: “WOLFWALKERS“
In this stunningly beautiful Irish animated film, young Robyn wants to be like her father, a hunter of wolves, in their new home in Ireland. But when she befriends a magical “wolfwalker,” she vows to save the wolves and the forest they live in.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: “BURROW“
A rabbit tries to create the perfect underground home in this very cute short film from Madeline Sharafian. It’s on Disney+.
Runner-Up: “OUT” (also on Disney+)
BEST DOCUMENTARY: “SENIORS: A DOGUMENTARY“
Older dogs live out their last days in comfort in this sweet documentary about the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary. Read the Moviepaws review.
Runner-up: “THE DOG DOC”
Holistic vet Doctor Marty treats “last chance” dogs in this documentary. Read the Moviepaws review.
BEST DOG ACTOR: HERO in “LOVE AND MONSTERS“
An Australian Kelpie named Hero saves the day as brave “Boy” in this enjoyable horror/romantic comedy set after the “monsterpocalypse.” Read ‘Love and Monsters’: All About the Dog Who Plays ‘Boy’
RUNNER-UP: Chico in “GOOD BOY”
Adorable rescue pup Reuben (so named because he devoured his owner’s sandwich) harbors a dark side that is unleashed whenever his human is upset.
BEST THERAPY CAT: MR. MITTENS IN “SOUL“
A therapy cat named Mr. Mittens becomes an unlikely host for Joe, a jazz musician having an out-of-body experience in this Pixar animated film. While he’s inside the cat’s body, Joe finds himself succumbing to the lure of such cat-tastic things as laser pointers and a warm patch of sun. Read: All About the Cat in the Pixar Movie ‘Soul’
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MONKEY IN A SUIT IN A DAVID LYNCH SHORT FILM: JACK CRUZ
Director David Lynch interrogates a capuchin monkey who may or may not have committed a crime in this short film. The monkey, whose name we’re told is Jack Cruz, has also released a single of the song he sings in the movie. Who actually voices Jack and the song? It’s a mystery!
BEST RABBIT ROMANCE: “OVER THE MOON“
Bungee the Bunny takes a trip to the moon with her human Fei Fei in this animated Netflix movie. There, she meets the magical Jade Rabbit and it’s love at first sight.
THANKS FOR NOT KILLING THE DOG:
Happily, dogs survive in both “The Invisible Man” and “The Rental.” Read: Horror Movies Where the Dog Doesn’t Die
RED FLAG ALERTS:
Animal lovers, beware: A horse serves as a disturbing metaphor in “The Nest” and “The Devil All the Time” features an excruciating dog death.
DON’T GO IN THE WATER: “UNDERWATER” & “SEA FEVER“
In “Underwater,” Kristen Stewart and her coworkers must try to survive when an undersea drill awakens a monstrous sea creature. And in “Sea Fever,” young PhD student Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) and the crew of a fishing trawler encounter a deadly parasite after sailing into an “exclusion zone.”
WEIRDEST TREND: EXPLODING GOATS
(SPOILERS!) How do Sarah (Cristin Milioti) and Nyles (Andy Samberg) escape from the time loop in “Palm Springs”? It involves blowing themselves up, which Sarah first tests out on a nearby goat. We don’t actually see the goat blow up and — thanks to the movie’s space-time logic — it’s just fine. Read more about the ending here: Palm Springs Plot And Ending Explained (Dinosaurs Too!)
In the hilarious Irish horror comedy “Extra Ordinary,” a video is shown of a magic ceremony in which a floating goat under a Satanic spell is woken up — and promptly explodes. Local psychic Rose (Maeve Higgins) shows the video to the father whose daughter is under the same kind of spell to demonstrate why waking up his daughter is a terrible idea.