There are many award shows that praise human actors. From the Oscars to the Golden Globes to the Emmys, human actors in film and television have plenty of opportunities to receive trophies for their work. All is well, of course, because the human actors deserve praise… but not so much as to eclipse the hard-working canine performers, whose performances tend to go unnoticed and unrewarded.
Enter the Cannes Film Festival, which, thankfully, is ready to appreciate talented canine actors when they see them. In addition to rewarding actors, directors and films, Cannes also annually awards the Pam Dog Prize to one or more talented canine actors, an award just as prestigious as the Palme d’Or of the same name. While all winners deserve praise, here are 10 notable winners of the Palm Dog award at Cannes, since the award was introduced in 2001.
Uggie as a dog in ‘The Artist’ (2011)
Few films present a dog interpreted as well The artist present Uggie in 2011. While this rom-com return to silent film won numerous awards for the humans who helped it make it – including a Best Picture win at the Oscars – its canine star was at least credited by Cannes festival.
Seriously, Uggie is one of the most memorable dogs to appear in a movie in recent memory. It also helps that he has a significant role in the film, doing more than just appearing for a scene or two, and getting more screen time than many of his human co-stars. He’s very cute, very friendly, and like one of the best parts of The artistdeserved more than his victory at the Palm Dog.
Lucy as Lucy the dog in ‘Wendy and Lucy’ (2008)
Wendy and Lucia is a character-driven drama about a young woman named Wendy, a wanderer who travels to Alaska to seek work with her only friend, Lucy, a dog. She loses sight of Lucy at one point, causing the back half of the film to focus on her desperate search for her canine companion.
It’s kind of a double-edged sword for dog lovers, because even though it prominently features a dog (as the main character, no less), the idea of losing a pet is painful and can be overwhelming for those who feel particularly attached to dogs. . However, at least Lucy in real life didn’t get lost, as she was simply playing a fictionalized version of herself – effectively enough, in fact, to win an award at Cannes for it.
Dug in ‘Up’ (2009)
dug from At the top is an interesting example of a Palm Dog award winner. Sure, Dug is an important character in Up, joining Carl and Russell on their journey to move a house to South America, but Dug himself isn’t an actor. Here, the prize was awarded to a fictional, animated dog that was actually voiced by a human voice actor: Bob Peterson.
It’s possible the Palm Dog award connoisseurs weren’t totally happy with how the award didn’t go to a real dog here, but at least Dug is a great character. Dug’s award celebrates at least one great canine character, even if it doesn’t highlight a dog’s actual performance like it usually does.
The Fox in ‘Antichrist’ (2009)
Whether At the top broke the rules regarding which dogs can receive the Palm Dog award, then Antichrist – released the same year – absolutely blew them away. The givers of the prize admitted that the rules were bent by giving the prize to a scary talking fox, which appears in one of the of the Antichrist the most notorious – and most memorable – sequences.
Anyone who wants healthy dog performance won’t find it in Antichrist, because it’s an incredibly disturbing film. Here, the fox even says “chaos reigns” in his brief appearance, emphasizing the unsettling story and signifying that the main characters slip into a deep, dark place. It’s an unforgettable scene, of course, which makes the fox an understandable — albeit controversial — Pam Dog winner.
Mops in ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006)
by Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette tells the story of the real-life historical figure of the same name. Kirsten Dunst plays the main character, who was – unfortunately for her – the last queen of France before the French Revolution overthrew the country’s monarchy in the early 1790s.
There is some doubt as to whether Mops actually existed, but regardless, Coppola decided to include the adorable pug in his 2006 film. It was for the best, in the end, as Mops’ performance ended up winning a Palm Dog award, and she was a very cute pug, and it’s rare that a pug doesn’t add anything to a movie it appears in.
Moses in ‘Dogville’ (2003)
Dogville is a weird movie that makes you wait a long time to see its Palm Dog-winning actor, Moses, eventually appear. It’s a film set on an almost completely empty stage, with a dark and harrowing story about a woman pursued by criminals who hide out in the titular city, only to be despised and hated by its people.
Still, if you include the word “Dog” in your title, people are going to expect a dog, and viewers get it by the end of the movie. Going there too much would reveal what happens in the film’s final moments, but it’s weird, memorable, and fitting to end with an actual dog.
Sayuri as Brandy in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019)
A film about the trials and tribulations of middle age, the motion picture industry in America in the late 1960s, and how convenient it can be to have a loyal dog, Once upon a time in Hollywood it’s a lot of things. It is also a great showcase for Sayuriwho is the greatest canine actor to appear in a Quentin Tarantino movie so far.
Like Moses of DogvilleSayuri shines brightest at the conclusion of their movie, which means it’s best not to elaborate and give Once upon a time in Hollywood shocking climax. What can be said is that Sayuri is as terrifying as she is adorable, and a more than worthy winner of the 2019 Palm Dog award.
Rose, Dora and Snowbear in ‘The Souvenir Part II’ (2021)
The second part of Memory is the rare sequel that has received even more praise than its predecessor. It’s a film about a young filmmaker trying to make her graduation film in the wake of a rocky relationship that just ended, creating moving, introspective drama that unpacks how art intersects with life.
Equally important, it also serves as a showcase for by Tilda Swintondogs, who are just as talented as their powerful actor owner. Pink, Doraand snow bear were all able to win an award for their roles, just as Swinton herself won so many acting awards before them. Talent really runs in the Swinton family, it seems.
Einstein in ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’ (2017)
Even though it has a slightly awkward title, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is a pretty good comedy-drama. A family reunion ensues to celebrate their father’s work, with the very dynamic between family members explored in ways that are sometimes awkwardly funny and sometimes quite sad.
The family dog is also in the film and is played by Einstein. Whereas Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandlerand Emma Thompson all give good performances, none match Einstein, who managed to win a Palm Dog award for his role. That’s no small feat considering the talented co-stars who may have ended up eclipsing a less stellar canine actor.
Nellie as Marvin in ‘Paterson’ (2016)
Paterson is up there with The artist like a movie that really lets a canine performer shine in a lead role. The main character with his peaceful, slow-paced, contemplative lifestyle might be the main focus of the film, and his girlfriend, Laura, the second main character… but that’s Marvin (played by Nellie) which probably gets the third most amount of screen time in the movie.
Nellie is adorable and incredibly charismatic in their performance here. Unfortunately, Nellie did not live long enough to receive the award, as it was given posthumously. As sad as it may be, at least Nellie will live Patersonitself a great film about resisting the speed of life and finding peace in its small moments of calm.
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10 Notable Palm Dog Award Winners At The Cannes Film Festival – CNET – ApparelGeek