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Celebrity: Rise of the Dog

With the recent release of the film The Artist, and the critical attention it has spawned from the overwhelming amount of awards it has won, consideration has been summoned on a usually evaded area of the industry; the role the working animal.

Uggie the dog

Since its release in 2011, The Artist has been celebrated for its dazzling direction, unique cinematography and colourful musical score, but to add to this, the spotlight has also found itself on a rather unusual member of the cast; Uggie the dog.

From humble beginnings as a rejected pet of two homes, Uggie started life from the wrong side of the tracks and was about to be sent to the dog pound when dog trainer, Omar Van Muller, rescued him from his fate and took Uggie into his own home. Ten years later, after an amusing Facebook campaign for him to win an honorary Oscar, Uggie now lives in a retired life of luxury. Respected by the film industry and idolised by his fans, Uggie, although probably the most famous dog in the world today, is not the first celebrity dog to find himself in the eye of the camera.

Making Oscar history

In fact, Uggie is not even the first dog to be considered for Oscar nomination. In 1929, there was a popular rumour that working dog Rin Tin Tin had won the most votes for Best Actor at the first Academy Awards ceremony. Discovered on a French battlefield during World War I, Rin Tin Tin was brought back to the United States in 1919 and was entered into a dog show in Los Angeles the very same year. After the success of the show, Rin Tin Tin went on to secure a tiny part in the film, The Man from Hell’s River. In 1927 Rin Tin Tin, starred in four films from which he was considered for the Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, due to the Awards Ceremony wishing to maintain a sense of seriousness, Emil Jannings went on to win the award (Jannings later went on to star in a series of propaganda films for the Third Reich).

Since the rise of Rin Tin Tin, Hollywood dogs have appeared sporadically throughout the decades and have often been applauded by audiences and critics alike. One such popular fictional dog (portrayed be a string of actors) is the dog known as Lassie. With no less than twelve films and a series of television programmes Lassie has been at the forefront of canine film and television for seven decades.

Classic Animal Films

Dogs have played a starring row in many family favorites but they aren't the only animals to star in flicks. Take a look at some of the below for an enjoyable animal film that can be appreciated by anyone, no matter what your age.

  • Bolt (2008)
  • Lassie (2005)
  • Babe (1995)
  • Beethoven (1992)
  • K-9 (1989)
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)


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