This Oscar Winner Thanked His Dog in His Acceptance Speech · The Wildest

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This Oscar Winner Thanked His Dog in His Acceptance Speech

Meanwhile, the pup was living it up at a hotel.

by Madeleine Aggeler
March 13, 2023
Courtesy of ABC / YouTube

Last night was a big one not just for the actors, directors, producers, crew, and swag bag organizers who gathered at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards, but also — and perhaps more importantly — for the animals. Jenny, the donkey star of Banshees of Inisherin, made a stunning appearance. The Polish film EO, about another donkey (not Jenny) was nominated for Best International Feature Film. And Barney the elderly Dachshund got a big onstage shout-out.

Barney’s dad, the British artist and author Charlie Mackesy, wrote and directed the short film The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, which won the Academy Award for Best Short Animation. Onstage, Mackesy said his many thanks and expressed remorse over having to leave his dog behind that night.  

“Thank you to my mum, and my family, and my dog, who I’ve left behind,” he said. “Who’s actually in a hotel…I hate to say that. God, I’m so ashamed. I wasn’t really meant to say that.”

But don’t worry about Barney. Backstage, Mackesy confirmed that his dog — a Longhaired Miniature Dachshund — was being well cared for and had not been left on his own to raid the mini-bar and rack up an exorbitant room service bill. 

“He’s with my friend Luisa, who’s looking after him,” Mackesy said, according to Entertainment Weekly. He added: “To be truthful, I hadn’t been on an airplane for 18 years until the Oscars because I just hadn’t. And so leaving him — he’s 15 — I felt terrible.”

Mackesy, who also wrote the book on which the film is based, said that Barney was more than just a faithful companion and reader — he was also the inspiration for one of the story’s main characters. 

“He actually is the mole,” Mackesy said. “The mole is the only creature in the film that isn’t really like a mole in real life. And he, really, is a reflection of my dog. He’s very hungry, greedy.”

Mackesy accepted the award with Matthew Freud, a London PR whiz and one of the producers of the film. Freud also thanked his dog, Vincent, whom, Mackesy explained backstage, “he loves just as much.”

Last night was a big night for Oscar winners and their dogs. Jamie Lee Curtis posted a photo of her and her dog, Runi, who was rescued from Perfect Pet Rescue in Los Angeles, posing with Curtis’s Oscar.

“The best greeting last night was from my beautiful  @perfect_pet_rescue pup, Runi, who truly couldn t give a shit about the statue I was holding,” she wrote on Instagram. “He just was happy to have me home, connecting with him the only way you can when you feel love toward an animal the way I feel toward him and him to me. #adoptdontshop

Barney, Vincent, and Runi were far from the only pups in Oscar history to get some love from their parents. Although they don’t get mentioned in acceptance speeches nearly as much as parents, children, or God, dogs do occasionally get name-dropped. In 2011, Uggie, the Parson Russell Terrier who starred in The Artist received many thanks on the awards circuit. And upon winning the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film Birdman, screenwriter Nicolàs Giacobone thanked his family, and “our dog, Larry.”

When Mickey Rourke won the Best Actor award at the 2009 Golden Globes for his role in The Wrestler, he thanked his dogs past and present.

“I’d like to thank all of my dogs,” Rourke said. “The ones that are here, the ones that aren’t here anymore. Because sometimes, when a man’s alone, that’s all you got is your dog. And they’ve meant the world to me.” 

Later, Rourke’s representatives confirmed that the actor’s Chihuahua, Loki, had died earlier that week, before Rourke won his award. 

“The dogs were there when no one else was there,” Rourke told Barbara Walters. “I sort of self-destructed. The wife had left, the career was over, the money was not an ounce.” At what he felt was his rock bottom, Rourke said he realized: “I don’t have kids. The dogs became everything to me.”

No word yet on how Barney feels about Mackesy’s win, but hopefully he got to celebrate by indulging in his most mole-like behavior and hungrily and greedily enjoyed treats in the hotel. 

madeleine aggeler

Madeleine Aggeler

Madeleine Aggeler is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a writer at New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives with her dog, Cleo, who works primarily as a foot warmer.

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