(CNN) – A star is, indeed, born in Bradley Cooper’s much-praised directorial debut: He has four legs, the kind of soft-looking fur that demands to be cuddled, and his name (both in the film and real life) is Charlie.
The pooch at the center of dog-lover’s collective post-“A Star Is Born” meltdown is also Cooper’s real-life canine pal, a rescue dog who he cast as the companion for himself and on-screen love Ally (Lady Gaga).
In the film, Cooper has said during press rounds, Ally and his character, Jackson Maine, don’t have children. But Charlie is “part of their story,” in a way a kid would be.
If Twitter users are to be believed, the decision had even more impact, particularly given the fact that despite essentially playing himself, Charlie delivers treat-worthy dog acting that has left moviegoers in shambles.
The dog, in fact, plays a critical emotional function in the film’s wrenching climax, which has Charlie present during Cooper’s character’s death.
Some have jokingly (or, perhaps, completely sincerely) called for awards for Charlie, who can now count himself as the latest cast member to generate Oscar buzz.
PETA also felt Charlie-related award was in order, but not quite for his acting skills. Last week, the organization announced it was giving Cooper the inaugural Compassion in Film Award for casting his own dog in his film, rather than using an animal exhibitor, as many Hollywood productions do.
“Bradley Cooper’s happy, adorable, and much-loved dog steals the spotlight — and viewers’ hearts — in this film because it’s clear that he loved being with his real-life ‘dad,'” said PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange in a release. “PETA has witnessed so much abuse and neglect of dogs, both on and off set, that we’re hoping Cooper’s kind decision sets a precedent for all of Hollywood to follow.”
In other words, both Coopers are very good boys.