Messi the border collie traveled from France to celebrate with his costars
This border collie is ready for his closeup!
The Anatomy of a Fall canine star, Messi, who played Snoop in the Oscar-nominated film, traveled from France to attend the Academy Award Nominees Luncheon in Los Angeles on Monday, per the dog's trainer Laura Martin Contini.
Messi was popular with other stars at the luncheon, including Ryan Gosling, who was seen on video waving to the dog. NEON, which distributed the film in the U.S., also shared a photo of Bradley Cooper meeting Messi.
— NEON (@neonrated) February 12, 2024
The talented dog has been praised as the star of the French courtroom drama. Justine Triet’s movie — which she directed and co-wrote — centers on Sandra Voyter (Sandra Hüller), a famous German novelist who is on trial in France, accused of pushing her husband Samuel (Samuel Theis) to his death.
Their blind 11-year-old son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) is caught in the middle of the grueling court case and media spectacle while also grieving his father. Daniel and his guide dog have a strong bond and stand as the only two witnesses during Samuel's death.
At the Oscars luncheon, Hüller told Variety that she still questions whether or not her character was innocent — and suggested that "the only innocent creature in the film is the dog."
Hüller, 45, scored a best actress nomination, while Treit, 45, was nominated for best director and best original screenplay. The film was nominated for best picture and best editing.
While Messi might not win an Oscar himself, he scored an award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. He won the event’s Palm Dog, the award for canine performances in the festival’s selected films.
After Messi received the award, Triet told The Hollywood Reporter that Messi's character "was not just another character or some animal running around [but] as much a part of the film’s ensemble as any of the other actors."
In another The Hollywood Reporter interview, Hüller shared the same sentiment that Snoop was “as much a character as any other," adding that the cast and crew were fortunate to work with Messi.
“We had good luck this time to work with someone in the business who trains animals for the industry,” said Hüller. “The lady [Laura Martin Contini] who owns Snoop was a really key person for us to allow him to be a character, really as much a part of the film’s ensemble as any of the other actors.”
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Contini told The Wildest that Messi joined the set for 22 shoot days. "There was such a great team, and he was everyone’s favorite on set, and we really took the time on each of his scenes," Conti said.
She explained how Messi and Milo Machado Graner had to forge a bond that translated to the screen.
“Even during the shoot, every time there was a break, they would be playing together," said Contini. "[Machado Graner] was specifically very invested in becoming close to the dog and taking care and playing with him, which is what Messi needs as a dog. He needs to be taken care of and to be given attention and playtime.”
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