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.
- 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