What’s in a Name? Plenty on Oscars Night


On Sunday night, some of the biggest names in Hollywood will be on display at 87th Academy Awards. But some of the best names will be watching from their homes all across the globe.

Don’t follow? Let us explain.

The best names will be attached to pets named after celebrities. Naming pets after famous actors and actresses is as old as the movies themselves. And to prove it, Banfield Pet Hospital, the world’s largest veterinary practice, recently scanned its database of more than 2.7 million pets in search of Oscar-worthy names. And sure enough, this year’s Best Actor nominees have quite the four-legged following.

Among the most interesting names are:

  • Benedict Cumberscratch, a feline nod to the actor nominated for his role in The Imitation Game
  • Bradley Pooper, an underdog looking to snipe the competition for Bradley Cooper’s role in American Sniper
  • Bark Ruffalo, the name carried by two dogs in honor of actor Mark Ruffalo, up for his part in the film, Foxcatcher

Other names in the Banfield files were nods to legends who are current nominees, including:

  • Clint Eastwood; six dogs and two cats named after the director of the best-picture-nominated film, American Sniper
  • Meryl; six cats and six dogs named after the actress nominated yet again for her role in Into the Woods
  • Oprah; 35 dogs and 11 cats named after the icon who starred in the best picture-nominated film, Selma
  • Bill Murray; 13 dogs and two cats named after the actor who starred in The Grand Budapest Hotel, including copycat, Bill Furray

And, of course, there is the name Oscar himself. The Banfield count is 4,373 dogs and 1,150 cats. Even Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris gets in on the fun — in the form of a feline named, yes, Neil Catrick Harris.

Regardless of their names, animals in shelters will once again be huge winners on Oscars night, thanks to the nominees who don’t win an award.

For the second year in a row, Ellen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets, in partnership with Freekibble.com, is giving 20 non-winning Oscar nominees a gift that gives back by donating 10,000 meals of natural pet food to the animal shelter or rescue of the celebrity’s choice. The donation is worth $6,200.

The gift is part of the coveted $160,000 “Everyone Wins at the Oscars” gift bags from Distinctive Assets, the Los Angeles-based marketing firm that launched the craze of celebrity swag 16 years ago, and will once again be consoling non-winning Oscar nominees.

Last year, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Barkhad Abdi, and June Squibb took advantage of the donation for their favorite shelters. Los Angeles-based shelters received donations on behalf of the nominees as well. In total, Halo and Freekibble.com donated 200,000 meals on behalf of Oscar nominees.

Read more about cats and celebrities on Catster:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).

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