Uggie, the adorable canine big-screen star whose role in The Artist has catapulted him into the limelight, will be stepping away from his feature film career to spend more time just kickin’ back.
“Uggie’s still enjoying it, but hes getting up there and hes slowing down a little,” trainer Sarah Clifford told the The Hollywood Reporter of the 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier, who also recently costarred in Water for Elephants. “Hes at the stage where he just says, ‘I think I want to go and lay in the sun by the pool.” (And his other trainer and “dad,” Omar Von Muller, does indeed have a pool.)
The little dog with the big ‘tude will still take on minor roles, but there will be no more of the months of long workdays required by feature films. Uggie’s protg, a Jack Russell named Dash, will be taking over the big roles. He has been waiting in the wings for this opportunity, backing up Uggie for minor scenes, learning the ropes before his older “brother,” as Von Muller calls him, stepped aside. (The two are not actually related, except that Von Muller calls himself “dad” to both.)
One of Uggie’s final red-carpet appearances will be on Feb. 13 at the Golden Collar Awards in Los Angeles. He and Dash will grace the stage as their own perky selves. “From what I gather, one of his last hurrahs will be at the Golden Collar Awards,” says Alan Siskind of Dog News Daily, which is putting together the gala event.
After the Golden Collars, all that stands in the way of chillin’ by the pool all day is a little event known as the Academy Awards. The Artist, which cleaned up during the Golden Globes earlier this month, is up for 10 awards. Unfortunately there still isn’t a category for animal actors, but that’s what the Golden Collars are all about.
I’m delighted that I will be at the Golden Collar Awards in a couple of weeks, bringing Dogsters exclusive coverage of the event. It should be quite the scene. There’s even some excitement going on ahead of time, with Martin Scorsese, whose film Hugo has 11 Oscar nominations, pushing for the canine costar of that film to be entered in the Golden Collars. He thinks the regal Doberman, Blackie (Maximilian), deserves to be in the running for top dog in the category of Best Theatrical Film.
The director wrote this in an editorial in the Los Angeles Times:
“Okay, let’s lay all our cards on the table. Jack Russell terriers are small and cute. Dobermans are enormous and handsome. More tellingly, Uggie plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master’s life in one of the films, while Blackie gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children. I’m sure you can see what I’m driving at.”
Good for Scorsese for sticking up for the big guy (actually, Blackie is a gal). If you’d like to see Blackie added to the roster, go to the Dog News Daily Facebook page and nominate her. She needs 500 write-in votes by February 6. I’m heading over there right now to nominate her. (I’ll use my Soldier Dogs moniker to add some teeth. 😉 ) Not that I don’t love Uggie and the other contenders, but Blackie’s stellar performance should not be overlooked just because she was kinda big and scary. (Time has wondered if this is a form of “breedism.”) Head over to the FB page and join in if you want Blackie to have a chance to run with the little dogs.
Update 10 p.m. Jan 30: We just learned from the LA Times movie blog that there was such an outpouring of votes for Blackie that she received all the nominations she needed within a few hours of getting out the word about her! I hope she can make the awards. I’d love to see her beside her more diminutive colleagues.