Cannes: Is 2019 a Ruff Year for the Palm Dog Awards?

Credit: Oleg Nikishin / Getty
Cannes Film Festival 2019

Following 2018's bumper Year of the Dog, man's best friend appears to have been hounded out of 2019's lineup.

The weather in Cannes has officially gone to the dogs and as we approach the halfway point, it seems the same may have happened to the festival’s onscreen canine count.

2018 wasn’t just the Year of the Dog for China, but was enjoyed on the Croisette, where the majestic great Dane in Matteo Garrone’s Dogman claimed the annual Palm Dog award, despite fierce competition from elsewhere, including Diamantino’s gigantic floating poodles.

But so far in 2019 man’s best friend appears to have been mostly hounded out of the lineup.

“As ever, dogs do their best, but maybe weren’t offered as many key spotlight positions as last year,” says Palm Dog founder Toby Rose.

That said, Cannes hasn’t been entirely Fido free, with critical tails wagged at a German shepherd fitted with golden teeth by his obsessive owner in Critics’ Week title The Unknown Saint, and Kerry Fox’s brought-to-work bowwow Bello — rumored to be a bearded collie — in competition entry Little Joe.

One reviewer noted the ‘’very fleeting appearance of a tri-ped lurcher” in Ken Loach’s lauded Sorry We Missed You, the double (real) Palme-winner applauded for offering a consistent platform for the oft-maligned three-legged dog acting community. The Hollywood Reporter has also heard rumors of a potential pooch in Bong Joon-ho’s yet-to-be screened Parasite.

Disappointingly, Jim Jarmusch — who claimed the Palm Dog in 2016 for the English bulldog in Paterson (the first post-canis winner)­ — fell short this year for his all-star, yet no-paw opener The Dead Don’t Die.

Rose suggests the inclusivity push in other areas could be behind the downward dog trend. “Dogs have taken it on the chin for diversity and have found themselves in a more crowded market than usual,” he says. “But they shine through regardless.”

But despite the name, pup fans should be very wary of the Directors' Fortnight entry Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, set in the world of BDSM where the "dog" in question is the subordinate, and a film that Rose says shamelessly uses the animals to “pique audience interest as a cover for more sordid human use of dog accoutrement.” In other words, it's more smut than mutt.

The Palm Dog ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. May 24 at the La Plage 45 Members Club.