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Cannes to crown best canine thespian with Palm Dog award

Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin walks off the stage with dog Uggie after "The Artist" won Best Movie onstage at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK
Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin walks off the stage with dog Uggie after "The Artist" won Best Movie onstage at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2012, in Hollywood, Calif.
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(CBS/AP) Aside from acknowledging actors and the films, the Cannes Film Festival also (unofficially) honors canine thespians that bring cute fluffy charm to the big screen with its Palm Dog award.

The prize is not to be taken lightly - last year's star terrier went on to see Oscar glory with "The Artist."

Pictures: Cannes Film Festival 2012

"A dark dramatic trend has emerged" which "starts with 'Moonrise Kingdom' in which a plucky pooch is pierced by a fatal arrow... to the nasty end for Fanny in 'The Hunt'," said Toby Rose, who announces the winner on Friday.

"It even includes the hotly tipped British entry 'Sightseers' in which the cute little terrier plunges to its death onto a knot of knitting needles," said the organizer of the prize.

Rose enlists the help of a panel of British film critics every year to pick the best performance by a dog in the films premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Last year the wily terrier Uggie took the prize with a stunning silent film performance in Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist," which went on to scoop five Oscars.

Rose, who created the award in 2001 in honor of his own dog Mutley, now deceased, also does his bit for dogs in Britain, where he runs the Fido awards at the London Film Festival.

The prize is a diamante collar with the words Palm Dog stitched into it. This year the trophy collar will be festooned with Union Jack flags in honor of the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The Palme d'Or top prize for one of the 22 films in the official competition is due to be announced on Sunday.