Personal Best (2008)


Nobody expected Oscar the Featherless Bird to become a pheenom. When she arrived at the Broward County Humane Society 12 years ago, she was in bad shape (that's right, Oscar's a girl). She was sorely afflicted with what's known as "beak and feather disease," a grinding, degenerative condition that shortens the lifespan and strips an afflicted bird of its plumage. Veterinarians gave the struggling cockatoo an outside chance at living another six months.

The warm-hearted staffers at the Humane Society, impressed by Oscar's indomitable spirit, took her under their wings and made her the shelter's resident mascot.

TLC has done well by Oscar. By now, she has long since outlived all lifespan predictions, and she's become a celebrity. As far as Oscar is concerned, the Humane Society is a booking agency, and it's easy to see why the media flocks to her. Call her an embodiment of the Subtropical Life: she's quirky, often erratic, and she shows a lot of skin.

New Times stopped by for an interview recently and found Oscar exhausted. She had already chatted with another reporter that day, done some video of her latest dance steps for the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and turned down a television request for Jimmy Kimmel Live! But like the true classy celeb she is, Oscar (via her human interpreters) spent a few minutes answering our questions.

NT: In any great horror or sci-fi film there's always a hero and a villain; which character do you associate with most?

Oscar has always been an underdog of sorts, a true champion when facing adversity, so she feels a deep connection with the virtuous heroes of the silver screen.

Which movies do you most identify with?

Her video library is extensive. Oscar has always had a fondness for Hitchcock's The Birds, although she feels conflicted while watching it. And on rainy afternoons, she likes to pull out her old VHS copy of Treasure Island — she's always felt a kinship with Long John Silver's parrot. Had she been born in a different time and place, Oscar's certain that she, too, could have navigated the seas in search of fortune.

More People & Places Awards


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >