Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab
‘Messi: The Dog’ did not attend the Oscars ceremony; nor did he applaud.
This article is more than 1 month old

'Messi: The Dog' did not attend the Oscars ceremony; nor did he applaud.

Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab

A video of ‘Messi: The Dog’ sitting in the audience of the Academy Awards and clapping has gone viral on social media X (previously Twitter). News reports about the dog’s seemingly humanistic expression have also been published in some Bangladeshi media outlets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). However, Dismislab’s verification revealed that the scene was staged; Messi did not actually attend the main Oscar ceremony, nor did he applaud. The clapping legs visible in the video were manipulated. Messi, the dog, gained prominence after starring in the movie ‘Anatomy of a Fall’.

Dismislab’s verification found that the video of Messi applauding was not from the main ceremony of the Academy Awards. Rather, a YouTube short shows that the video of Messi’s applause is being recorded in the presence of a small audience.

A report by the Associated Press (AP), a US-based news agency, said that Messi did not appear in the show; but, a prerecorded clip was added to the main video of the ceremony

As per information provided by the Associated Press (AP) photographer Chris Pizzelo, the video capturing Messi applauding was recorded as guests were arriving at the Dolby Theatre 45 minutes before the show. Subsequently, this clip was integrated into the ‘reaction’ scene featuring guests during the ceremony. It appears that Messi probably made an early exit before the show commenced to unwind and relax.

As per a USA today report, Messi did not actually attend the main Oscars show. The US-based media outlet published a photo that revealed the behind-the-scenes recording of Messi’s applause video, exposing that the scene was not original. In reality, a man positioned under Messi’s chair shook two artificial legs to create the clapping effect.

Similar information emerged in a debunk report by The Tab, a London-based media outlet.

Despite this revelation, several media outlets of Bangladesh Manobkantha, RTV, Channel-I, RisingBD, Dhaka Prakash, and Dinbadal, claimed in their reports that the dog actor Messi received applause during the Oscars show.

Prothom Alo, published two reports on this issue. While the text report of the website version correctly stated that “Messi’s applause was not real,” the video report contradicted this, claiming that Messi indeed applauded with the audience.

The website report of the Prothom Alo reads: “Robert Downey Jr. received the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film ‘Oppenheimer’. As he stepped up to accept the award, the audience erupted into a standing ovation, and the camera turned to capture Messi, the dog. Messi appeared to be clapping with his two legs, adding a heartwarming touch to the moment.

However, the truth later emerged: Messi’s applause was not genuine. Instead, Laura Martin, Messi’s trainer, had previously recorded the video. During the Oscars show, this pre-recorded clip was seamlessly integrated into the broadcast.”

On March 11, at 8:30 PM, Prothom Alo published this report on their website. A few hours later, they released a video report on their YouTube channel and Facebook Page titled, “Who is this Messi in the audience of the Oscars?” The video highlighted that this four-legged actor had become a viral sensation for his unexpected applause during the ceremony. The narrator introduced Messi, emphasizing that he had indeed clapped along with the audience at the Oscars, sparking widespread discussion and intrigue.

Verification found an award announcement scene in a video by ABC News, a US-based news media. In the footage, Messi can be seen applauding right after Robert Downey Jr. received his award. ABC News attributed this video to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, without mentioning any pre-recorded elements related to Messi’s clapping.

Additionally, Newsweek published a report titled, “Oscars ‘Fooled’ Crowd With Messi the Dog Clapping, Video Shows.”

The 96th Academy Awards, held in Los Angeles, USA on March 11, featured the dog actor Messi, who traveled from France to attend the grand show. Messi gained prominence for his role as Snoop in the film ‘Anatomy of a Fall’, directed by Justine Triet. In the movie, Snoop serves as the service dog for a blind character named Milo. ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ weaves a tale of mystery, investigation, and suspicion surrounding a death.

Messi did not receive an Oscar, but his film ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ won the award for Best Original Screenplay. Previously, the film had also secured the Palme d’Or award, and Messi was honored with the Palm Dog Award. Since then, Messi’s name has become well-known in Hollywood. Many of Messi’s fans have even called for an Oscar category specifically for animals.