Listen, Cats may not be a box-office success or an indie darling or a feat in special effects, but it does have one thing: cats. And that’s good enough for PETA. The animal-rights organization announced the recipients of its annual Oscats awards, which honor “the most animal-friendly films” of the year. Did … did we watch the same movie? The cats who saw Cats would be filing defamation suits right now if they could afford lawyers. Tom Hooper’s film won the Oscat for Best Movie Starring Cats Without Using Any Cats, presumably going up against The Lion King, which is also having a rough awards season. “How do you make a movie called Cats without using any real cats?,” PETA wrote in its awards announcement. “With willing actors and awe-inspiring computer-generated imagery (CGI), that’s how. T.S. Eliot would no doubt applaud the high-tech innovations that are making the confinement, neglect, and deprivation of cats in the entertainment industry nothing more than an unpleasant ‘Memory.’” All the people who saw Judi Dench’s human hand on a cat body would like a word.
Unfortunately for theater kids and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the awards-season campaign for Cats has been a bit of a cat-astrophe. (I’m sorry.) It’s hard to overcome a combination of bad reviews, poor box-office performance, and James Corden, Bustopher Jones himself, refusing to see the film. “Beautiful Ghosts,” the original song Webber and Taylor Swift wrote together, was nominated for a Golden Globe but lost to “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, for Rocketman. On December 26, Variety reported that Universal cut Cats’ Oscar campaign short by removing it from the studio’s For Your Consideration page. But, clearly, it’s true what they say about cats having nine lives. The Cats awards-season campaign is alive and well, thanks to PETA.