Messi has already won the Oscars guest-starring in Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue

Give this dog an Academy Award already.
96th Annual Academy Awards - Show
96th Annual Academy Awards - Show / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

There was a moment when it seemed like Messi, the star of Anatomy of a Fall, wasn’t going to be allowed to go to the Oscars. Good thing he was because frankly, he just won this year’s Academy Awards.

In Kimmel’s opening monologue, while running through the various movies, he kicked off an awkward transition between calling out Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance in the 2006 version of Shaggy Dog, and that there was another dog actor in the audience.

“Even though he’s a dog, he may have given the performance of the year,” Kimmel said, praising Messi’s role in the movie, before pivoting to a joke. “I haven’t seen a French actor eat vomit like that since Gerard Depardieu.”

Messi stars in Anatomy of a Fall as Snoop, the faithful canine companion of Daniel, a blind boy central to a court case where his mother is being accused of his father’s murder. Tricky situation to be in, so it’s a good thing he has Snoop as a guide dog.

As we’ve already detailed here on Dog O’Day, Messi isn’t just some run-of-the-mill dog in the movie… He’s a full part of the cast, and central to at least three of the most important, emotional scenes in the Oscar-nominated film.

Though (unfortunately) a dog can’t win an Oscar, Messi has been a key player in the run-up to the ceremony itself, tagging along with the cast and crew at staged readings, and even to the Oscars luncheon.

That latter event is where the trouble culminated. Reportedly, a number of studios complained about Messi’s attendance at the event, arguing that his presence was unfavorably weighing fans and voters toward Anatomy of a Fall. After that, #JusticeForMessi trended on multiple platforms, with fans of the canine demanding he be allowed to attend the ceremony.

And in fact, before this year’s 96th Academy Awards even started, Messi was included in the proceedings, with Jimmy Kimmel running jokes by the dog (who was unimpressed). Then we saw that Messi was already sat inside the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

Now we know why! And once again, though Messi can’t win, we need to bring up the Air Bud argument: there’s no rule that says a dog can’t win an Oscar. Next year, Messi. Next year.

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