Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

PUPPY LOVE!

Animal lovers will be herding over to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the 26th annual Genesis Awards on Sat., March 24. The star-studded gala honoring all our favorite four-legged, finned and feathered friends is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States. This year’s festivities will be hosted by “Dancing with the Stars” icon Carrie Ann Inaba, political funnyman Bill Maher will also be on hand providing the laughs, as well as Malibu’s Ryan O’Neal and Kayley Cuoco. Some impressive names indeed, but the real glamour-pusses at this event are the critters themselves.

Every year the event pays tribute to all those hard working Hollywood writers, producers, directors, news organizations and others in the entertainment industry who all raise awareness of animal protection, animal rights and animal concerns.

This year’s nominees include locals like Steven Spielberg, who won accolades for his Academy Award-nominated “War Horse.”

Others include 20th Century Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Rio” and “A Dolphin Tale.” Those films will be competing for the best picture prize.

As for film docs, IMAX’s “Born to be Wild 3D” seems to lead the pack but Cedar Productions’ “Buck” and Crossover Productions’ “One Lucky Elephant” aren’t far behind. For Dramatic Series, “It’s Hawaii Five-O” against “The Glades.”

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For kids, there’s “Nick News with Linda Elerbee, “Animal” on Nickelodeon and “Sid the Science Kid” on PBS Kids.

My personal fave and father of our nation Dr. Stephen T. Colbert is up for the Sid Caesar Comedy Award. Giggles aside, the news magazine show “20/20” is up for an expose on egg farm cruelty, while ESPN has an insightful look at cockfighting. CNN’s man about the world Anderson Cooper and high pitched, high volume Jane Valez-Mitchell are also in the mix.

On the national news scene, ABC’s Diane Sawyer is up for another look at cruel conditions on egg farms. She’s up against former CBS news anchor Katie Couric and NBC’s Nightly news staple Brian Williams.

Morning news is in the picture as well with CBS veteran reporter Barry Petersen’s profile on “BATS!”

On the talk show front, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart made the grade for promoting vegan cooking along with dance machine Ellen Degeneres.

Hot head chef Gordon Ramsey gets in the mix with a documentary called “Shark Bait” for the BBC. HBO offers the doc “Madonna of the Mills,” while PBS’ Nature has “Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey.”

So it seems the awards season isn’t quite over, but this is one celebration that leaves you walking away just a little bit more enlightened and sensitive to the world around you, not to mention warm and fuzzy.

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