If you watched the Academy Awards in February, you might have seen Uggie, the Jack Russell Terrier, on stage with the rest of the cast when The Artist won for Best Picture. Normally, dogs don’t play a role in the Academy Awards, and it’s odd these days to see a dog actually at the Awards ceremony.
But if dogs, movies, and/or odd trivia interest you at all, you might be amused to learn that a dog almost played a major role in the very first Academy Awards. The first Awards were given in 1929 for the 1927/1928 movie season. According to Susan Orlean in her book Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin actually received the most votes for Best Actor. The Academy decided that allowing a dog to win Best Actor at the very first Awards would not set the proper tone for establishing a serious new awards ceremony, so the votes were recalculated and the award was given to Emil Jannings instead.
Too bad. I would love to have seen that the first Oscar for Best Actor actually went to a dog!
Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin is an interesting story about the actual Rin Tin Tin and takes detours about many of the people involved with him and his career as well. Even more so, it’s an interesting perspective on the role of dogs in the early days of movies and television. If any of those topics interest you, you might want to pick up the book and read it when you have some spare time.