History of the English Language

 

 

 

Animal Idioms: An Oscar’s best friend

A dark horse; top dog; having a whale of a time - What do these animal idioms mean? Find out in the article and vocabulary glossary below.

 

The Artist was the top dog at this year’s Oscars. Well, with a little help from a friend - man’s best friend to be precise: Uggie the dog! Forget the best actor, forget that there’s no sound and even forget that it is in black and white - anyone who has seen this highly-praised film will know that the real reason to see it is because of its canine actor.

Ok, seriously, The Artist is a great film as it proves that there’s life in the old dog yet of black and white silent films. Who would have thought a film that’s homage to the 1920’s would be so successful? But a big part of that success is because of Uggie. His charm and charisma oozes off the screen and everyone involved worked like a dog to get the film made, including him.

However, Uggie is not the only charismatic animal that has had a big influence on the Oscars. Here are a few more who people may remember:

The horse in War Horse (2011): When it comes to serious war films, Spielberg does not horse around. This is no different, and the horse gives a powerful performance amongst the English actors. This was also a dark horse for this year’s Oscars but in the end it didn’t win anything.

The whale in Whale Rider (2002): This New Zealand film touched a lot of people about a little girl having a whale of a time with her new aquatic friend, and the bond that connected them.

The pig in Babe (1995): This family-friendly film brought home the bacon for the studios and was nominated because of its sweet talking piglet. He pretends to be a sheep-dog to save his bacon and makes a lot of talking animal friends along the way.

The shark in Jaws (1975): Technically the shark was mechanical, as even Spielberg would have bitten off more than he could chew if he tried to use a real one. However, it was still a menacing and terrifying performance by the shark that still scares people today.

Last but not least…

Milo, the Jack Russell dog from The Mask (1994): He was full of energy, charming to watch and a fresh face in Hollywood – plus Jim Carrey wasn’t bad either! The original “Uggie”, Milo, was outstanding in this and that lucky dog Jim Carrey owes much of his career to him.
 
 

 

Animal Idioms:

To be top dog
the most important or powerful person/thing in a group
Man’s best friend
synonym = dog
There’s life in the old dog yet
even though something is old, it/they are still good at something
To work like a dog
to work very hard
To horse around
to have fun when it should be serious
a dark horse
someone who unexpectedly might win something or be successful
To have a whale of a time
to have a really enjoyable time
to bring home the bacon
to earn money / to be successful, especially financially
Save someone’s bacon
escape from injury/harm/trouble
Bite off more than someone can chew
to do something more than is possible
A lucky dog
a very lucky person

 
 

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