LOS ANGELES - Hollywood veteran Martin Scorsese has won a pre-Oscars dog fight by securing an 11th hour nomination for the four-legged star of his latest movie in a canine contest.
Scorsese wrote an open letter to the Los Angeles Times at the weekend lamenting that Blackie, the snarling Doberman from his top-Oscar tipped movie "Hugo," had been left out of nominees for the Golden Collar award.
The frontrunner for the dog award is widely seen as Uggie, the cute trick-performing Jack Russell from silent movie "The Artist," which is snapping at Scorsese's heels with 10 nominations against 11 nods for "Hugo."
Contest organizers Dog News Daily responded to Scorsese's letter by promising to nominate Blackie if at least 500 people backed him by "liking" its Facebook page.
A deluge of message calls for Blackie to be nominated followed -- easily more than 500 in 24 hours, said a statement on the dog-friendly website.
"Due to the outpouring of love and support from around the world from fans of Mr. Scorsese, his film 'Hugo' and its canine star Blackie, the write-in campaign .. has been successful," said Dog News Daily head Alan Siskind.
"Blackie's name has been added to the Best Dog in a Theatrical Film category as the sixth and final nominee in that category," he added.
The 1st Annual Golden Collar Awards ceremony will take place on February 13 in Los Angeles, with red carpet arrivals and a private cocktail reception benefiting Los Angeles area dog rescue organizations and shelters.
Other nominees include Cosmo from the movie "Beginners" and Brigitte, aka Stella, in the TV series "Modern Family," according to a press release on Dog News Daily's website.
If Uggie wins, it would not be the first award for the celebrity canine, who was showered in glory last year at France's Cannes Film Festival. There, echoing the top film prize, the Palme D'Or, he was given the Palm Dog.
To add to Uggie's aaah-factor, his owners announced last week that the 10-year-old dog is retiring after his turn in "The Artist," in which the four-legged friend notably saves his master's life from a fire.
But Scorsese demanded that Blackie -- a snarling Doberman belonging to the station inspector, played by "Borat" star Sacha Baron Cohen, who chases parent-less children -- be given a last-minute place.
The "Goodfellas" and "Taxi Driver" director admits that, while Blackie would win paws-down in a fight, he may have problems winning sympathy against the cute dog from French-directed "The Artist."
"Uggie is so adorable that he received two nominations for two separate pictures. Well done," he wrote.
But he continued: "OK, let's lay all our cards on the table. 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."
Laying on the irony, he added: "I detect another, more deep-seated prejudice at work. Jack Russell terriers were bred in the 19th century for the purposes of fox hunting by an Englishman, the Reverend 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?"
"Must we forget the magnificent physical achievements of such legendary Dobermans as Bingo von Ellendonk (who achieved a perfect score in the storied Schutzhund competition), Borong the Warlock, Baracuda Liborium or Caravelle Drillbit?" he added.