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The Palm Dog, the cinematic canine competition that has become a mutt-hailing mainstay of the Cannes Film Festival, on Saturday held its first ever awards ceremony in the U.S.
Landing during the Chinese Year of the Dog and just two weeks after Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs had its world premiere at the Berlinale, the Palm Dog USA celebrated what organizer Toby Rose described as a “bowser year on the big screen.”
At a pop-up presentation at L.A.’s PetStaurant on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, King George VI’s “adorable and hungry” corgi from Darkest Hour — who shared an important scene with Ben Mendelsohn and Gary Oldman — was named the Palm Dog USA’s Grand Jury Prize winner from a field of competitors that included the hunting dog at the side of Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World and a dog from Oscar-nominated Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman.
“This perky chap lightened the mood in the Darkest Hour with a regal turn,” said Rose.
But it was a futuristic four-legged friend who came away with the main prize. The mysterious whiskey-drinking hound at the heels of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049 was named Palm Dog USA winner.
“Who else could a grouchy old widowed Blade Runner with an estranged messiah child in an abandoned future Las Vegas turn to be but a dog? It’s just perfect,” said Rose of the victor, which is uncredited in the film’s IMDB page but rumored to be both an Estrela Mountain dog and Caucasian Ovcharka in online chat rooms. Director Denis Villeneuve himself has said the film doesn’t reveal whether the dog is a replicant or not.
“Blade Runner 2049 may open up even more questions than the original 1982 sci-fi classic, but there’s only one question that really matters: What happened to Deckard’s dog?” added Rose. “Unfortunately, I have an idea about what happened to the dog. It’s not good. I’ll just say it: The replicant rebels probably ate it.”
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