A white poodle with cataracts who portrayed Liberace's pampered pet in Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra" nabbed the "Palm Dog" award during the Cannes film festival on Friday (May 24), stealing focus from star Michael Douglas.
Critics at the prestigious festival on the Mediterranean coast may have hailed Douglas for his performance as the flamboyant pianist, but it was the blind "Baby Boy" who walked away with a prize.
The "Palm Dog" award ceremony takes place each year on the sidelines of the official cinema showcase to honour the festival's most memorable canine performance.
The name is a play on the Palme d'Or, Cannes' top prize.
"Baby Boy" was not at Friday's ceremony to receive his award. Organizers did not disclose the reason for his absence, nor would they reveal his real name or age -- information that cinema stars are always anxious to protect.
Organiser Toby Rose said audiences were transfixed by the "cuddliness" of "Baby Boy", whose failing health in the movie brings together Liberace and his new young lover.
"The fact that we're giving an award to the dog that brought the two lads together, surely that says a lot about why he got the Palm Dog," Rose told Reuters.
Perhaps the most famous dog on celluloid in recent years is "Uggie," the Jack Russell terrier star of the 2011 French film "The Artist," who is now in retirement.
"In the last two or three years, you've seen a lot more films that have featured dogs and a lot more films that have featured dogs for the purposes of bringing in box office, and they certainly do that. And it's for sure Uggie has brought dogs right to the forefront," Rose said.
This year's slate of films to premiere at Cannes have featured an array of challenging dog roles.
A very small canine actor portrayed the role of Paris Hilton's Chihuahua in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," while a sweet-faced whippet featured in Alex van Warmerdam's "Borgman."
Underscoring the versatility of man's best friend, more dramatic roles were seen in Amat Escalante's "Heli," in which a dog protects a drugs cache, and Arnaud des Pallieres' "Michael Kohlhaas," in which two guard dogs maul a man.
(Video Source: REUTERS); ( CLIPS FROM 'BEHIND THE CANDELABRA' -- COURTESY HBO FILMS)
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