Discover the Best in “award” Show: Palm Dog Awards at Cannes 2023 Celebrates Top Dogs

Beginning in 2001, The Palm Dog Award is a yearly alternative award presented by the international film critics during the Cannes Film Festival. The name of the award is a play on words of the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest honor.

logo of Palm Dog awards at Cannes

Toby Rose – Founder

Toby Rose worked as a cinema journalist for over two decades – after a stint working in PR for Queen and Jonathan Ross – writing for publications including The Observer, The Times, Time Out and the London Evening Standard. In 2001 he founded the world’s first prize for canine excellence on the big screen, the Palm Dog awarded each year at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Palm Dog was inspired by Toby’s Fox Terrier, born in the Champagne region of France, who went by the name of Mutley(Mutt). He has since gone over the rainbow bridge, but lives on through the world’s foremost and paw-most awards for dogs on the big screen.

History of the award

Since 2001, Cannes Film Festival has gone to the dogs — literally, as the annual Palm Dog awards ceremony has celebrated the best canine performers in cinema for the past 22 years! The yearly ceremony is held at Cannes, honoring all of the best doggy actors that were involved in films that screened at the festival, and it’s probably the most important award given out besides the Palme d’Or. This year’s competition was one of the fiercest in years, with numerous canines battling it out for the award, which has gone to such prestigious pups as Sayuri the Pit Bull, who played Brandy in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” and Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier, who played Jack in “The Artist.” But how did it all come about, and who won this year’s Palm Dog?

2 men standing, one holding a small dog and the other holding a collar which  reads Palm Dog

The Palm Dog Awards has increasingly grown in stature, due to the heavyweight support of a jury made up of some of the world’s leading film critics including, Peter Bradshaw (Chief Film Critic, The Guardian), Wendy Mitchell (editor at large at Screen International and author of Citizen Canine), Anna Smith (Time Out, Metro, and head of the Critics’ Circle Film Section) Kaleem Aftab (i Newspaper), Rita di Santo (Morning Star) and Joe Utichi (Deadline).

Producers, actors and directors from nominated films attend the ceremony, often with stand in dogs and the event is covered by major news agencies including BBC, Reuters TV, AFP, APTN and film journalists from Vanity Fair, Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times.  The 2019 Palm Dog generated significant coverage and excitement with the arrival of Quentin Tarantino who came to collect the award on behalf of Sayuri who played Brandy, alongside Brad Pitt in the Oscar winning film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Past Winners

  • 2001 Winner: “Otis” in ‪The Anniversary Party
  • 2002 Winner: “Tähti” as Hannibal in ‪The Man Without a Past
  • 2003 Winner: “Moses” in ‪Dogville
  • 2004 Winner: “All the Dogs” in Mondovino
  • 2005 Winner: “The Shepherd’s Dog” in Cave of the Yellow Dog
  • 2006 Winner: “Mops” in Marie Antoinette
  • 2007 Winner:(tie) “All the Stray Dogs in Mid Town Gang and“Yuki” in Persepolis
  • 2008 Winner: “Lucy ” in ‪Wendy and Lucy
  • ‪2009 Winner: “Dug” in Up
  • 2010 Winner:  “Boss” in ‪Tamara Drewe
  • 2011 Winner: “Jack the Dog” played by Uggie in The Artist
  • 2012 Winner: Smurf (played by Poppy and Banjo) in Sightseers
  • 2013 Winner: “Baby Boy” in Behind the Candelabra
  • 2014 Winner: “Hagen” (played by Body and Luke) in White God
  • 2015 Winner: Dixie (the Maltipoo) played by Lucky in Arabian Nights Part 2
  • 2016 Winner: “Marvin” played by the late Nellie in Paterson
  • 2017 Winner: Bruno the standard white poodle as “Einstein” in The Meyerowitz Stories
  • 2018 Winner: Dogman by Matteo Garrone (with a special mention of the frozen and resuscitated chihuahua)
  • 2019 Winner: Brandy in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • 2020 Cannes film festival cancelled due to Covid
  • 2021 Winner: Rosy, Dory and Snowbear in The Souvenir Part II
  • 2022 Winner: Britney as Beast in The War Pony
  • 2023 Winner: Messi as Snoop in Anatomy of a Fall

The award format

Dogs are pitted head to head in the categories and a winner is chosen by the jury who is compromised of some serious industry movie critics. In what started out as a tongue-in-cheek event has grown and evolved to be covered by all the major news organizations around the world…giving the dogs the credit they deserve.

Coveted Award

The prize is a gilded leather dog collar with the words “Palm Dog” that is bestowed on the most deserving pooch each year and is coveted as its the highest award a dog can currently achieve in acting.

Shaggy white dog wearing collar with gold letters reading Palm Dog
A previous Palm Dog winner wearing the bespoke collar award

There are also other categories of winners, including a jury prize and a “Palm DogManitarian” award given to a person or company that best exemplifies the bond between dogs and humans.

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