As Oscar season goes to the dogs, Martin Scorsese stumps for Blackie

Posted by · 10:33 am · January 30th, 2012

Two weekends back I was told that a famous director at the Golden Globes observed the parading of “The Artist,” uh, “star” Uggie on the stage yet again to get the easy laughs and “awws” from the audience as the film won the Best Picture – Comedy/Musical award. “Why does Harvey keep dragging this f***ing dog around,” he quipped. “There’s a dog in our movie, too. Our dog could EAT that dog.”

With a recent tongue-in-cheek op-ed in the pages of the Los Angeles Times bearing his name, I suppose it’s okay to reveal now that, indeed, the director in question was Martin Scorsese. The article is meant as a cute stumping call for Blackie, the Doberman “star” of Scorsese’s Best Picture nominee “Hugo” in the wake of the canine being snubbed in the nominations for the first annual Golden Collar Awards, but it’s absolutely brilliant for the way it takes the piss out of Oscar season oh so succinctly.

Here’s a taste:

OK, let’s lay all our cards on the table. Jack Russell terriers are small and cute. Dobermans are enormous and – handsome. More tellingly, Uggie plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master’s life in one of the films, while Blackie gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children. I’m sure you can see what I’m driving at…

I’m proud of Blackie, who laid it on the line and dared to risk the sympathy of her audience. Let’s just say that on the set, she had a fitting nickname: Citizen Canine. The bath scene alone is a masterpiece of underplaying, with Blackie’s wonderfully aquiline face accentuated by the 3-D.

And then there’s this playful but nevertheless shrewd dissection:

I detect another, more deep-seated prejudice at work. Jack Russell terriers were bred in the 19th century for the purposes of fox hunting by an Englishman, the Rev. John Russell. Dobermans were bred by a German tax collector who was afraid of being bludgeoned to death by the citizenry. But does that mean we must condemn the entire breed? Must we forget the magnificent physical achievements of such legendary Dobermans as Bingo von Ellendonk (who achieved a perfect score in the storied Schutzhund competition), Borong the Warlock, Baracuda Liborium or Caravelle Drillbit?

It’s a hoot. You should read the whole thing at the Los Angeles Times and join Marty’s rally cry. More love for Blackie!

Scorsese, by the way, will be on hand here in Santa Barbara tonight to receive the American Riviera Award. I can’t wait to settle in and take a trip down Marty memory lane.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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