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Did Oscar snub dog star Uggie?

Jan. 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM ET

Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who stole filmgoers’ hearts in “The Artist” as well as such other films as “Water for Elephants,” was up to his usual dog tricks in Studio 1A today: swiping the spotlight from human beings.

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Uggie dressed up for the announcement of the Academy Award nominations on TODAY this morning, but he didn't receive one.

Wearing a natty bow tie for the occasion of hearing the nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards announced live on TODAY, the adorable pooch barked greetings to his “Artist” costars, hid his head in his paws, and generally eclipsed all the talented people on camera with his irresistible canine charisma. See for yourself:

But though “The Artist” garnered a whopping 10 nominations, including one for Best Picture, none of the nods was for Uggie, despite a “Consider Uggie” Facebook campaign. Which raises a metaphysical question: Do animals act?

From Mr. Ed to Benji to Morris the Cat and Joey in 'War Horse', many animal stars have stolen our hearts.

Author Susan Orlean, for one, thinks they do. In “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend,” her best-seller about the German shepherd who starred in dozens of films and arguably saved Hollywood in its early days, she argues that the dog wasn’t just doing tricks on camera; he was acting.

And the jury of international critics behind the Palm Dog Award (whose name is a play on the Palme d’Or or Golden Palm, the highest plaudit bestowed at the Cannes Film Festival) would probably agree; they’ve been honoring canine acting every year since 2001 and this year chose Uggie for the award (a handsome inscribed leather dog collar).

What do you think? Should the Academy have honored Uggie with an honorary Oscar – or perhaps even have launched a new Oscar category, Best Performance by an Animal?

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