Cannes: Nellie Takes Palm Dog Honor for 'Paterson'

Paterson Dog - H 2016
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

The late English bulldog Nellie was the first posthumous winner.

English Bulldog Nellie made history Friday with her posthumous win for her role as the male Marvin in Jim Jarmusch's Paterson.

Nellie had taken the lead early during the festival for her ground-barking role. 

"Nellie, may she rest in peace," star Adam Driver told The Hollywood Reporter. She passed away "a couple of months ago" from unknown canine causes.

Jarmusch could not attend the ceremony, but sent a photo of himself holding the coveted Palm Dog collar. Producer Carter Logan was on hand to accept the prize. 

"She was an incredible performer. We looked at a lot of tape, and when we saw her, we knew she was the one. She had a unique voice and was able to express herself," he recalled. He said her ter-ruffic turn as the male Marvin was "a unique and transformative performance."

Logan also noted that she was rescue dog, before pawsing to ask those in attendance to honor her memory. "Please adopt — don't buy a dog or go to a breeder — as a tribute to Nellie."

In Bed With Victoria's Jacques, a French dalmatian, took home the jury prize for his role as dog with a fur-rocious growl that convinces a judge to put a bad guy behind bars. 

The Palm DogManitarian award went to Ken Loach for his consistent use of three-legged dogs in his films. This year he featured Shae, who "represented the underdog" that is a recurring theme in his films, including his latest, I, Daniel Blake. Loach, who could not attend the ceremony due to a commitment, accepted the award earlier and sent a photo of himself with his prize.

Cannes' canine prize ceremony was established in 2001 by founder Toby Rose to honor the festival's four-legged film stars. The award has a strong dog-track record or predicting winners. Uggie was named top dog for his star turn in The Artist in 2011. That film went on to win the Palme d'Or and the best picture Oscar, and Uggie was immortalized with his paw prints in front of TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Last year the entire canine cast of White God was honored, and that film went on to win the top prize in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.

Jury members included Cannes' most prestigious international film critics, including The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, The Independent's Kaleem Aftab, The Times' Kate Muir, Metro's Anna Smith and Manifesto's Rita di Santo.