Messi the celebrity dog made it to the Oscars. Here's how the show pulled off his (clapping) cameo

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Messi the dog from the film "Anatomy of a Fall" appears in the audience during the Oscars on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

LOS ANGELESMessi the dog did attend the Oscars after all.

The breakout star of Justine Triet’s “ Anatomy of a Fall ” was rumored to have been off the list, but just a few minutes into Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue Sunday night the camera cut to the 7-year-old border collie in a prime aisle seat near the stage.

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There was a little bit of movie magic happening, however. Associated Press photographer Chris Pizzello said that about 45 minutes before the show, when guests were starting to file into the Dolby Theatre, cameras were filming Messi in the spot that was later used as a “cut in” reaction shot.

As for the clapping paws, Pizzello said a member of the crew was also helping make that memorable cutaway happen. (A human hand and fake paws can be seen in one of Pizzello's shots of the moment.)

Messi did not, however, appear to actually be in the theater for the duration of show. Perhaps he snuck out early to relax at a viewing party instead. Though the dog was not nominated for any Oscars this year, he has been a fixture during awards season, stealing the spotlight at every stop including the nominees luncheon, sharing moments with the likes of Ryan Gosling and Billie Eilish. He also was awarded the Palm Dog at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

A representative for the actor did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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