Palm Dog: Kodi, star of 'Dog on Trial,' is the top dog of Cannes

Top dog of Cannes

The verdict is in: The titular “Dog on Trial” was declared this year's Palm Dog winner in Cannes on Friday.

Kodi the griffon mix, who plays Cosmos in the Swiss comedy-drama, narrowly beat Xin, a sighthound who instead wagged away with the Grand Jury Prize for the Chinese drama “Black Dog.”

The Palm Dog awards aren't officially a part of the Cannes Film Festival, but do honor the canines who appear in the festival's films.

In a rare treat perhaps reflecting the growth of the contest's popularity, both dogs were in Cannes to pick up their medals — in this case, dog collars.

Historically, many laureates haven't been on hand: Last year's winner, Messi, was awarded in absentia for his role as Snoop in “Anatomy of a Fall.” His Palm Dog collar was instead symbolically wrapped around a border collie named Stan that lacked the thespian's piercing blue eyes.

In 2019, director Quentin Tarantino claimed the collar on behalf of Sayuri, who played Brandy the heroic pit bull in his “Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood.”

The contest was created in 2001. The annual award and its spinoff categories are decided by a jury of reporters.

For Kodi, a nearly 10-year-old rescue, the honor was the cap to his career — and to a whirlwind week that saw him barred from the red carpet for his film's premiere.

In “Dog on Trial,” directed by and starring Laetitia Dosch, Kodi's character is an unruly dog who bites a woman and is put, yes, on trial, with his life at stake. The film is inspired by a true story and explores themes of feminism as well as the status of dogs.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese superstar and “Black Dog” actor Eddie Peng showed up to support Xin, not just as her co-star but also as her owner. In the film directed by Hu Guan, Peng plays a man who's ordered to remove stray dogs from his hometown before the Olympic Games. He adopted his canine co-star after bonding with her on set.

“Maybe in the future I don’t need to work anymore,” Peng told The Associated Press earlier, commenting on Xin's newfound popularity. “I’ll just be the agent with my dog.”

Three prizes were also awarded for best “mutt moments.” These went to Chippy from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” Dave in Andrea Arnold's “Bird” and a surreal hound ensemble in Yorgos Lanthimos' “Kinds of Kindness.”

You may be forgiven for thinking the festival can come to a close with the awarding of the Palm Dog, but there are in fact actual film awards still to come. The Palme d'Or and other top awards will be handed out Saturday.

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