Martin Scorsese Has a Dog in This Fight

Turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks, if they're performing at the Oscars with Billy Crystal-type tricks. Uggie, the scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier from "The Artist," is emerging from his just-announced retirement, to do a bit with on the show, according to deep sources at The Hollywood Reporter. (We hope he sings.)

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount PicturesBlackie with his co-star Sacha Baron Cohen.

But there is a fierce competition brewing in the canine world, and it's not just between Uggie and Christopher Plummer's preferred Jack Russell terrier, Cosmo from "Beginners."

Martin Scorsese has penned an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times protesting the omission of Blackie, the Doberman in "Hugo," from the list of nominees for the inaugural Golden Collar awards, which highlight dog actors. (Uggie was nominated twice.)

"O.K., let's lay all our cards on the table," he writes. "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."

No? Mr. Scorsese will be glad to spell it out for you.

"I detect another, more deep-seated prejudice at work," he continues. "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?"

Not according to Blackie's fans: he has garnered the 500 write-in votes needed to become a Golden Collar nominee. The awards, complete with fancy wee-wee pads for the red carpet, will be held Feb. 13, in case you need another tail-wagging fix after the Puppy Bowl.

And the Bagger recently spent some time with Uggie and his trainer, Omar von Muller, and with Mathilde de Cagny, who trained both Cosmo and Blackie. To learn all the tricks of their trade (one word: bacon) stay tuned.

Martin Scorsese Has a Dog in This Fight

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