6 Canine Movie Stars Who Have (or Should Have Been) Honored at the Oscars

If you tuned in to the 96th Academy Awards on March 10, you likely witnessed a few of the year’s key pop-culture moments. Between host Jimmy Kimmel’s hit-or-miss jokes and a nearly nude John Cena, there was certainly a lot to talk about! However, one Oscars attendee has animals from around the world ready to give a standing ovation, whether or not they’ve seen his movie. We’re talking, of course, about Messi the Border Collie.

Canine Movie Stars

While this four-legged movie star takes the Internet by storm, we wanted to reminisce about some of the best canine actors of all time. While it’s impossible to recognize every single dog who’s played a pivotal role in cinema, these household names certainly deserved a seat at the Academy Awards when their movies came out.

1. Messi as Snoop–Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/people/

If you haven’t seen Messi’s performance in this French drama, you really should. Not only is the plot of the movie just as riveting as it is emotional, but it also stars one very, very good boy. Messi plays Snoop, a guide dog to a blind child who is the sole witness to his father’s murder. In a particularly heart-wrenching scene that we won’t spoil, Snoop comes snout-to-snout with death! As Messi’s trainer and owner told People, the French movie star practiced this particular scene for two months, though it was all worth it to see his hard work pay off.

2. Buddy as Buddy–Air Bud (1997)

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/airbudofficial

Before this Golden Retriever became Hollywood’s golden boy, he made an appearance on a popular family television show. Buddy played the role of Comet on Full House in 1995, but his big break came a few years later when he landed the titular role in popular kids movie Air Bud. He dazzled fans with his basketball skills on-screen and sired nine puppies before his passing, only one year after the movie’s release.

3. Terry as Toto–The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/wizardofozhistory/

This groundbreaking film will remain at the peak of cinematic history for so many reasons, but one of the smallest actors gets almost no credit for their role. Terry the Cairn Terrier played the beloved role of Toto, though she was injured on set when one of the extras accidentally stepped on her paw! While recovering in Judy Garland’s residence, the two became particularly bonded. Garland even offered to buy her, but Terry’s owner and trainer could not part with the pup. Terry appeared in several other films besides The Wizard of Oz, but this movie remains her only credited role.

4. Rin Tin Tin–The Academy Award’s First ‘Best Actor’ Winner?

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/thiswashollywood/

This rescue dog’s life story is a true rags-to-riches tale. This German Shepherd was rescued as a days-old puppy on a French battlefield in the middle of WWI. The soldier who took him home to California trained him to act in films, and sure enough, he did. Rin Tin Tin went on to appear in over 20 silent films between the years of 1922 and 1931, though in 1929, he was rumored to have won one of the very first Academy Awards. Supposedly, he received the most votes for best actor, but the award was given to Emil Jannings instead.

5. Beasley as Hooch–Turner and Hooch (1989)

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/tomhanksfansite/

Beasley is a Dogue de Bordeaux (AKA French Mastiff) who starred in only one movie. In the 80s, he was one of just a few Dogues in the United States, and he trained alongside two others for the role of Hooch. While the other dogs trained as his stunt doubles, Beasley was awarded the main role! The dogs learned to do their own stunts and often relied on clicker training to focus their attention on set.

6. Chris as Beethoven–Beethoven (1992)

Canine Movie Stars
via https://www.instagram.com/throwuback/

This massive dog left an even more massive pawprint on everyone’s hearts during his reign as Beethoven from 1992 until his passing after the sequel movie was released. The St. Bernard played the beloved titular role alongside over ten doubles to help portray the character at different ages. He later appeared in TV series Step by Step and enjoyed a leisurely retirement on a farm.

Who are your favorite canine actors? It can take a special kind of dog to learn and train for an acting role, but these six talented pups all deserve their own star on the ‘Hollywoof’ Walk of Fame.

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