(CANNES, France-AFP) – A white poodle that plays the part of a blind pet owned by Liberace in the flamboyant biopic “Behind the Candelabra” scooped glory on Friday by winning the Palm Dog for canine talent at the Cannes Film Festival.
The pedigree pooch plays Baby Boy, whose sight problems bring a teenage dog trainer (played by Matt Damon) into the orbit of a predatory Liberace (Michael Douglas).
Eventually, their love affair breaks down in a welter of jealousy and drugs.
“He brought those boys together — he has a lot to answer for!” quipped Palm Dog organiser Toby Rose, unveiling the spoof awards at the festival’s British pavilion.
But Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw, one of a three-member jury, praised Baby Boy for exploring “a profound existential paradox.”
Through its blindness, the poodle had shed light on the human condition, he argued.
The unnamed canine thesp was not in Cannes to pick up the cardboard collar prize.
The jury also awarded a special prize to a pampered pack of Hollywood hounds in “The Bling Ring,” about teenage brats who break into celebrities’ homes, stealing clothes and jewellery.
The real Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) is awarded on Sunday for the best film showing at the 12-day festival, the world’s most prestigious movie showcase.
Last year’s Palm Dog went to terriers Smurf and Ged, which featured in a British black comedy “Sightseers.”
Anti-dog violence was castigated at this year’s awards. A Mexican film, “Heli,” shows brutality towards humans and to canines alike.
“Setting alight to a human being’s penis, that’s alright, but killing a dog, that’s right out of order,” said Bradshaw, in a joking reference to the stereotype that the Brits prioritise animals over their fellow Homo sapiens.