Kodi, Star of *Dog on Trial*, Is the Winner of the “Palm Dog” at Cannes Film Festival · The Wildest

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Kodi, the Charismatic Star of Dog on Trial, Wins Palm Dog at Cannes Film Festival

This incredible pup also couldn’t stop humping the director’s leg in a red-carpet interview.

by Sio Hornbuckle
May 24, 2024
Kodi, Canine Star of ‘Dog on Trial,’ Wins Cannes Palm Dog.
Photo Credit: Bande à part Films / Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival has been going on since May 14 (and wraps up tomorrow). And while the most memorable events from this year’s beloved French film fest might be Bella Hadid’s consistently perfect red-carpet looks or the inexplicably long standing ovation that Kevin Costner’s Western got from audience members, we are obviously more interested in the achievements of the four-legged Cannes attendees. Specifically, we care about the Palm Dog, the annual award that honors the best pup performance in a film.

The 2024 Palm Dog winner

Coming off of last year, when we first met awards-season star and 2023 Palm Dog winner, Messi, there were certainly some pretty big and star-studded paw prints to fill. his year, the honor, which is a play on the Palme d’Or — the festival’s highest prize — went to Kodi, a 9-year-old Griffon mix. Kodi plays Cosmos, the doggie companion of a visually impaired man in the Swiss-French comedy Dog on Trial, directed by Laetitia Dosch.

After a biting incident, Cosmos is on trial in a case (hence the title of the film) that will decide if he is to be euthanized. Thankfully, he has an ally in Avril (played by Dosch), who serves as his attorney.

Palm Dog founder Toby Rose told Variety that Kodi is about to turn 10 years old and will soon retire from his work onscreen. But he certainly is going out with a bang (maybe literally, if you get where this is going), because he was banned from red carpet appearances after humping Dosch’s leg too much during interviews. Icon. The key to a successful film career is being memorable, after all — that’s showbiz, kids.

The Palm Dog: a valued tradition

As official as it seems, the Palm Dog awards ceremony, which dates back to 2001, isn’t actually a formal part of Cannes (which began in 1946). The awards, given out in the form of actual dog collars, honor pups for their contribution to film. This year, the other big award, the Palm Dog’s Grand Jury Prize, went to Xin, a Jack Russell / Greyhound mix in Black Dog, directed by Chinese director Guan Hu.

The ceremony was held today on the beach and attended by local dogs and their parents, as well as journalists. Per AP, both Kodi and Xin seemed to enjoy the spotlight during their big moments. Kodi even did tricks on his hind legs and barked along to “Chihuahua” by DJ BoBo as it played from the speakers.

About Dog on Trial

What makes this movie so special is that it’s not just about one dog’s singular experience. Dosch actually based it on the cases of several dog parents who were tried in criminal cases over something their pup did.

Dosch told The Hollywood Reporter that she was moved by how much of an “impact” one of the cases had on one town, though she did not name the case in question. “People got very passionate about this story; there were demonstrations, there were petitions,” she said. “So, people got very involved in this story, and I found it very meaningful, because if people got very involved, that means that there is something in our society that [the issue speaks to].”

While promoting the film, Dosch has spoken about how many countries still don’t see animals as living beings with their own agency. But some have taken steps to correct this. It’s actually fitting that Dog on Trial premiered in France; in 1976, it became one of the first countries in the world to recognize some animals as sentient beings under the Protection of Nature.

“I asked myself, ‘What if a dog would not be a thing anymore, but someone? How would justice cope with that?’” Dosch told THR. “That was very funny and at the same time, it’s raised a lot of questions, because they’re not individuals as humans are — it’s not the same. So, what are they? There’s a void here, and when there is a void, there is passion.” 

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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