By Jim Slotek

The critics and the audience don’t always agree on their favourite actors, even when the actors are dogs.

This was true this past year when a poodle named Brit won the Palm Dog award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022 for her role in Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s Indigenous drama War Pony.

Set in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, it stars Jojo Bapteise Whiting and Ladainian Crazy Thunder as slacker best friends Bill and the younger Matho.

The imaginatively active Bill likes to concoct money-making ideas – including breeding his poodle Beast (played by Brit), a patient dog who is often seen babysitting Bill’s children by different mothers.

The indie feature debut scored 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, but didn’t register with audiences.

Photo: Protagonistpictures

But, the dog of the year at the box office was Lulu, the title character in the heart-tugging drama Dog. It co-starred Channing Tatum as a PTSD-stricken Army Ranger who must escort a fallen fellow soldier’s also-traumatized military dog to the funeral.

Had Lulu’s performance won, they would have had to hand out multiple trophies, since she was played by three Belgian Malinois named Britta, Zuza, and Lana.

Jackson (Channing Tatum and Lulu) Photo: United Artist Releasing    

Meanwhile, our honourable mention must go to Coco, a shelter dog who’d never been in a movie before, and whose debut role was in the latest Predator film Prey.

Coco played Sarii, the companion to a Comanche girl named Naru (Amber Midthunder) who uses her wits and skills to fight a technologically-advanced alien fighter in the species’ first appearance on Earth in the 18th Century.

Photo: 20th Century Studios

In other dog-themed films, no actual animals were used in the CGI kid-flick.                        DC League of Super-Pets.

And yes, there were dogs (three of them) in The Power of the Dog. But their roles were cameos and the movie had nothing to do with dogs.

Warner Bros. Pictures


Jim Slotek is a former Toronto Sun columnist, movie critic, TV critic and comedy beat reporter. He’s been a scriptwriter for the NHL Awards, Gemini Awards and documentaries, and was nominated for a Gemini Award for comedy writing on a special (the NHL Awards).  He is the founder of the film blog