He considers it “useless” to compete for the statuette in the current unfavorable world situation for Moscow due to the invasion of Ukraine
For the first time since the days of the Soviet Union, Moscow will boycott the prestigious Oscars this year by not presenting any films, which contributes to the growing cultural isolation of Russia. The Russian Film Academy announced yesterday its decision not to attend this year’s awards in the category of best foreign film at the 2023 gala.
Nikita Mijalkov, well known to the Spanish public, repeatedly acclaimed at festivals and defender of President Vladimir Putin’s policies, considers it “useless” to compete for the statuette in the current unfavorable world situation for Moscow due to the invasion of Ukraine. “Selecting a film that represents Russia in a country that now denies the existence of Russia is simply useless,” Mikhalkov told the TASS agency. He noted that there is a proposal to create “a Eurasian equivalent” of the Oscars and such a project is being implemented.
Such positioning has provoked the protest of three directors who are members of the committee in charge of submitting Russian feature films to the Oscars, including its boss, Pável Chujrái, who announced their decision to resign on Tuesday. The letter to the members of the organization also said that Nikolai Dostal and Andrei Zviánguintsev also leave the committee.
On Monday it became known that the Presidium of the Russian Film Academy decided in 2022 not to nominate a film from Russia for the American Oscar award. Except for the words spoken by Mikhalkov, the reasons for this decision were not officially specified. According to Chujrái, it was adopted “unilaterally” and “behind the back of the Oscars committee”, whose members “not only were not consulted, they did not even consider it necessary to notify”.
“I want to inform you that in protest I am resigning from my presidency and resigning from this organization,” the film director wrote. Another Russian director, Alexei Uchitel, called for an urgent meeting of filmmakers with the Presidium of the Film Academy to “immediately correct the situation.”
Russia won the award for best international feature film, formerly known as best foreign language film, once before, in 1994 with Mikhalkov’s ‘Burnt by the Sun’, one of the loudest voices today in support of everything what Putin is doing, including the war against Ukraine.
The last two Russian films nominated for best international feature film were ‘Leviathan’ and ‘No love’, in 2014 and 2017 respectively, by director Zviánguintsev. Both films portray thorny aspects of the political problems in the country, including corruption and the role of the Orthodox Church, causing open controversy. The invasion of Ukraine has further divided the country’s cultural scene, with the exile of many directors, including Kantemir Balagov and Kira Kovalenko, two young and ambitious directors whose films were submitted to the Oscars in 2019 and 2021.
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