After last year's triumph for a terrier who went on to Oscar glory with The Artist, the 2012 pack of celluloid canine talent was looking strong Thursday for Cannes' unofficial Palm Dog award.
"A dark dramatic trend has emerged" which "starts with Moonrise Kingdom in which a plucky pooch is pierced by a fatal arrow... to the nasty end for Fanny in The Hunt," said Toby Rose, who announces the winner on Friday.
"It even includes the hotly tipped British entry Sightseers in which the cute little terrier plunges to its death onto a knot of knitting needles," said the organiser of the prize.
Rose enlists the help of a panel of British film critics every year to pick the best performance by a dog in the films premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Last year the wily terrier Uggy took the prize with a stunning silent film performance in Michel Hazanavicius's The Artist, which went on to scoop five Oscars.
Rose, who created the award in 2001 in honour of his own dog Mutley, now deceased, also does his bit for dogs in Britain, where he runs the Fido awards at the London Film Festival.
The prize is a diamante collar with the words Palm Dog stitched into it. This year the trophy collar will be festooned with Union Jack flags in honour of the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
The Palme d'Or top prize for one of the 22 films in the official competition is due to be announced on Sunday.