So that's how Uggie started living with the Von Mullers and their 6-year-old daughter in North Hollywood. There are seven other dogs in this same household, and all of them work in the film industry. Uggie started his career by being in commercials and having small roles in the movies What's Up Scarlett, Wassup Rockers, and Mr. Fix It. His big break came when he played the role of Queenie in Water for Elephants. After that, Uggie went on a tour of the United States and South America with "The Incredible Dog Show." All the dogs in this group did tricks to entertain the audience. Uggie's trick was riding a skateboard.
|A scene from Water for Elephants|
The next big thing that Uggie did was he played the role of Jack in a silent movie called The Artist. This movie was made in the style of a movie from the 1920s, but it is really a very modern movie that only just came out in 2011. It got lots of Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but Uggie did not receive any nominations because of being a DOG, like I mentioned before.
|A scene from The Artist|
While he was filming The Artist, Uggie had two stunt doubles, Dash and Dude, but mostly he did his own stunt work. Since the movie was silent, Mr. Von Mueller could just say the commands out loud instead of having to give hand signals. When the film had its premiere, Uggie got to walk on the red carpet with all the other stars. And when there started being a lot of Oscar buzz about The Artist and how it might get a bunch of nominations, an editor from Movieline, S.T. VanAirsdale, started a Facebook page called "Consider Uggie." But alas, Uggie did not get nominated for Best Actor or even Best Supporting Actor.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) got questions from their members who wanted to know if they could vote for Uggie for Best Actor. And here's what BAFTA said: "Regretfully, we must advise that as he is not a human being and as his unique motivation as an actor was sausages, Uggie is not qualified to compete for Bafta in this category." Which is just silly and discriminatory, in my opinion, because if you give a convincing performance as an actor, who cares if you were inspired by pieces of sausage? Human actors are inspired by paychecks, aren't they? So what is the difference?
|Uggie with Michel Hazanavicius, writer/director of The Artist,|
and Penelope Ann Miller. (AP photo by Chris Pizzello)
But anyway, at the Cannes Film Festival last year, Uggie really did win an award, and it's called the Palm Dog Award. This was the 11th year for this award, which is given for the best canine performance. And then in France, Uggie got a special mention at the Prix Lumiere Awards, which is the French version of the Golden Globes. Also, because of the "Consider Uggie" campaign, Uggie is now in line for a Pawscar, which is an award that the American Humane Association gives to animals in films.
|Another scene from The Artist|
Then, best of all, on February 13, at the Golden Collar Awards, Uggie won in the category of Best Dog in a Theatrical Film. This was the first year for these awards, which were given out by Dog News Daily. Other dogs who were nominated in this category were Denver, the greyhound in 50/50, Hummer in Young Adult, and Cosmo in Beginners.
|At the Golden Collar Awards|
One dog that didn't get nominated at first was Blackie, a Doberman who was in the movie Hugo. But the film's director, Martin Scorsese, made a big stink about it, and about how it was unfair because Blackie played an antihero dog instead of a hero dog. So there was a write-in campaign, and after Blackie got 500 signatures, he was put on the ballot. But he still didn't win, because Uggie won.
|Uggie takes a bow on the Graham Norton Show|
For a while, there were rumors that Uggie would appear at the Academy Awards ceremony, and that he would do a little skit with Billy Crystal, who is the host. But it turns out that these rumors are false. Uggie's trainer has said that Uggie will retire now, except he might be willing to do some small roles in films or on TV. But he doesn't ever have to work all the long hours that he did when he was in The Artist. Which is good, because retirement is good. Just ask my mom, if you don't believe me!