Russia has opted not to submit a film in the Best International Feature category at the 95th Oscars. The decision, revealed late Monday night, was made by the Russian Film Academy and comes as the country’s ties with the west have deteriorated amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A statement reads, “The presidium of the Russian Film Academy has decided not to nominate any Russian films for the 2022 Academy Awards.”
In the wake of the announcement, Chairman of the Russian Oscar selection committee, Pavel Chukhray, resigned in protest. According to state news agency TASS, Chukhray called the decision “illegal” and said it was made without consultation. He told TASS, “They did not even consider it necessary to notify of such a decision,” and added that director Nikolai Dostal is also leaving.
Another member of the Russian Oscar Committee, Alexei Uchitel, has called for a meeting with the Film Academy. Per TASS, Uchitel said, “In my opinion, this situation needs to be corrected immediately. It seems to me impossible to make such a decision without the members of the Russian Oscar Committee. My call is to immediately get together with the presidium and then make a decision.”
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian films have not seen much travel to the west, particularly as those made with state funding have largely been unwelcome at major festivals. Tchaikovsky’s Wife, by Russian dissident Kirill Serebrennikov, however was selected in competition at Cannes.
According to reports, there was a long list of 122 films from the country that could have been put forth to the Oscars this year.
In the last decade, Russia has had five films make the International Feature shortlist, and converted two of those into nominations. It last won the statue for Nikita Mikhalkov’s 1994 Burnt By the Sun.
Mikhalkov reportedly has said it “does not make sense” for Russia to select a movie this year that would represent it “in a country, which in reality currently denies the existence of Russia.”