Yes, People Name Their Dogs After Academy Award Nominees

Meet Bradley Pooper and Bark Ruffalo. Also in Oscars news: Ellen DeGeneres will donate 10,000 meals each to 20 losers' animal shelter of choice.


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

The practice of naming pets after famous actors and actresses is a common one — 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:

  • Bradley Pooper — an underdog looking to snipe the competition for Bradley Cooper’s role in American Sniper.
  • Benedict Cumberscratch — a feline nod to the actor nominated for his role in The Imitation Game.
  • 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, this time 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 itself — the Banfield count is that 4,373 dogs and 1,150 cats have the name. Even the host gets in on the fun. Yes, there is a Neil Catrick Harris.

Regardless of their names, animals in shelters will once again be huge winners on Oscar 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, is gifting 20 non-winning Oscar nominees a gift that gives back: a donation of 10,000 meals 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, an L.A.-based marketing firm. Last year, Julia Roberts, 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 donated 200,000 meals on behalf of Oscar nominees.

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About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for 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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