Meet Messi! All About the “Anatomy of a Fall” Dog Who Stole the Show at the Oscars

Jimmy Kimmel brought out a very special guest with him as he hosted the 2024 Oscars: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ dog Messi

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Messi in the audience during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty

Messi in the audience during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

The 2024 Oscars may have been a star-studded night, but it was a 7-year-old border collie that stole the show.

Messi joined host Jimmy Kimmel in the audience where he cheered on the winners of Hollywood’s biggest night. The pup first rose to fame after his scene-stealing role in Anatomy of a Fall, in which he portrays a guide dog that nearly overdoses on pain medication.

“There were a few interviews in France, but what we’ve been experiencing here in America — with the attention to this dog and his acting — it’s beyond anything we anticipated,” Messi’s trainer and owner Laura Martin Contini told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2024. “It’s probably the maximum that you can accomplish in this field.”

Now, Messi has become a symbol for the movie as he’s attended the awards circuit, culminating with his presence at the Academy Awards in March 2024.

So who is the dog that stole the show at the 2024 Oscars? Here’s everything to know about Messi and his meteoric rise to fame.

He starred in Anatomy of a Fall

<p>Neon</p> A still from the movie "Anatomy of a Fall" featuring Sandra Hüller and Milo Machado Graner as Sandra and Daniel, respectively, walking Snoop, played by Messi.

Neon

A still from the movie "Anatomy of a Fall" featuring Sandra Hüller and Milo Machado Graner as Sandra and Daniel, respectively, walking Snoop, played by Messi.

Messi first rose to fame for his starring role in 2023’s Anatomy of a Fall as Snoop. The Best Picture-nominated film tells the story of Sandra (Sandra Hüller), who is on trial for the murder of her husband Samuel (Samuel Theis). Sandra and Samuel are parents to a blind, 11-year-old son named Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), and Snoop serves as the boy's guide dog and closest companion.

In one particularly heartwrenching scene, Daniel accidentally poisons Snoop, who then passes out and struggles to breathe. Messi's owner told IndieWire in February 2024 that they practiced the scene for two months, as she had to train Messi in steps for the difficult moment.

“Even the simplest things take a lot of work,” she said. “It had to happen in steps. First, the simple laying down and having his head kind of immobile. [I] started there and then [we worked on] lifting the head and just letting it fall back without resistance."

After months of training, Messi spent 22 days filming on the Anatomy of a Fall set, Contini explained to The Wildest.

"There was such a great team, and he was everyone’s favorite on set, and we really took the time on each of his scenes," she said.

The trainer added that Machado Graner focused on getting close to Messi, which helped both the actor and the dog bring their bond to life before shooting.

“Even during the shoot, every time there was a break, they would be playing together," she said. "[Machado Graner] was specifically very invested in becoming close to the dog and taking care and playing with him, which is what Messi needs as a dog. He needs to be taken care of and to be given attention and playtime.”

He got close with his costars

<p>Amanda Edwards/Getty</p> Messi the dog attends the Film Independent Live Read of Justine Triet's "Anatomy Of A Fall" on February 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Amanda Edwards/Getty

Messi the dog attends the Film Independent Live Read of Justine Triet's "Anatomy Of A Fall" on February 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Before he found his way to the Oscars, Messi stole the hearts of his costars first. Director Justine Triet told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2023 that Messi “was not just another character or some animal running around [but] as much a part of the film’s ensemble as any of the other actors.”

In a separate interview with the outlet the same month, Hüller shared the same sentiment that Snoop was “as much a character as any other” and that the cast and crew were fortunate to work with a dog as talented as Messi.

“We had good luck this time to work with someone in the business who trains animals for the industry,” she said. “The lady who owns Snoop was a really key person for us to allow him to be a character, really as much a part of the film’s ensemble as any of the other actors.”

He lives in Paris with his owner

<p>ABC</p> Messi and his owner Laura Martin at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10, 2024.

ABC

Messi and his owner Laura Martin at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10, 2024.

When he’s not working, Messi lives with Contini in a suburb outside of Paris. Contini — who adopted Messi when he was a young pup — is a professional trainer, who works with other animals in addition to her own dog.

“It really became, for me, a job of passion,” she told The Wildest. “I’m fascinated by the way in which you can really learn to understand animal behavior and communicate with them in ways that are nonverbal and get to know the specific personalities of each of the dogs.”

He won the Palm Dog at the Cannes Film Festival

<p>Amanda Edwards/Getty</p> Messi the dog attends the Film Independent Live Read of Justine Triet's "Anatomy Of A Fall" on February 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Amanda Edwards/Getty

Messi the dog attends the Film Independent Live Read of Justine Triet's "Anatomy Of A Fall" on February 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Messi’s work was first recognized at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. While the film took home the Palme d’Or, Messi received another coveted prize: the Palm Dog, the unofficial award for canine performances in the festival’s selected films.

The jury gave Messi the award after stating his performance “covers the gambit… one of the best we’ve ever seen,” per The Hollywood Reporter.

He has met many of Hollywood’s most famous actors

<p>Neon/ Instagram</p>

Neon/ Instagram

Messi made the journey to Los Angeles in the weeks ahead of the Academy Awards, where he got to attend some industry events like the Academy Award Nominees Luncheon. At the event, all eyes were on Messi as various celebrities went up to greet and play with him.

Ryan Gosling and the pup became fast friends when Gosling waved to him, and Messi also posed with Bradley Cooper. He also had a sweet moment with Billie Eilish, Contini told The Hollywood Reporter.

“The big moment was with Billie Eilish, who bonded with Messi for almost 10 minutes,” she said. “They were hugging and petting and they really had a vibe. Then Bradley Cooper bumped into him in the hallway. The dog went right to him, so they also had a connection.”

He attended the 2024 Oscars

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Messi in the audience during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty

Messi in the audience during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

After mixing with industry professionals around L.A. — and enjoying a nice outing at Venice Beach, California — Messi and his mom attended the 2024 Oscars where they walked the red carpet and had a number of cameos during the ceremony.

“Messi, who, even though he’s a dog, may have given the performance of the year in Anatomy of a Fall,” Kimmel said during his opening monologue. “Messi has an overdose scene, if you’ve seen it you’ve known it. It’s incredible.”

At a later point in the night, Messi clapped when Robert Downey Jr. accepted his award for Best Supporting Actor.

The show also closed out with a clip of Messi pretending to urinate on Matt Damon’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a bit for Kimmel’s long-running “feud” with the actor.

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