Forget Michael Douglas, Liberace's poodle is top dog at Cannes

Fri May 24, 2013 12:04pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage and Rob Lang

CANNES (Reuters) - A white poodle with cataracts stole the limelight from Hollywood star Michael Douglas by winning the Palm Dog award during the Cannes film festival on Friday.

Critics at the prestigious festival on the Mediterranean coast may have hailed Douglas for his performance as Liberace in Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra", but it was the flamboyant pianist's 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 honor the festival's most memorable canine performance. The name is a play on the Palme d'Or, the Cannes festival's top prize.

Organizer 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.

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, we'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," Rose said.

This year's Cannes films feature an array of challenging dog roles, including a very small canine actor's portrayal of Paris Hilton's chihuahua in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring".

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.   Continued...

Cast members Michael Douglas leaves after the screening of the film "Behind the Candelabra" in competition during the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman