Dino the Maltese parrot is one of the stars in a film that is vying for an Oscar in Hollywood tonight.

Norwegian film Kon-Tiki is based on a true story of how six Scandinavian men crossed the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft in 1947, led by an explorer who could not swim.

Nominated for Best Foreign Film, Kon-Tiki was mostly shot in Malta, which is how Dino the macau parrot ended up starring as Lorita.

Throughout the film he was perched on the shoulders of one of the main actors. But he also got in the thick of the action: at a crucial point in the plot, Dino had to gnaw a wire being used as a radio antenna.

And Dino, well trained by Kevin Mallia, the owner of Birdpark, got it spectacularly right.

Dino was in good Maltese acting company: actors Manuel Cauchi and Mikhail Basmadjian both had substantial speaking parts.

Pierre Ellul of Falkun Films, the local production service company, said Malta was chosen mainly because it offered a one stop shop: open sea, water tanks and land locations that could double up for the Peruvian harbour city of Callao, from where the explorers originally set out.

The Maltese Government’s film incentives through the Malta Film Commission tipped the scales in favour of the island, rather than Spain.

About 550 Maltese extras and 50 crew were involved in filming. “The Maltese crew were brilliant and we worked together with the Norwegian team in a seamless manner to bring this story of incredible courage and determination to the screen,” said Mr Ellul.

What are the chances of Kon-Tiki making winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar?

“Slim, very slim. It looks like the Austrian film Amour will win as it has won every other award. However, you never know,” said Mr Ellul.

Despite the slim chances, sources said Dino was busy preparing his Oscar acceptance squaw.

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