Events around the Russian Oscar Committee and the nomination for the Academy Award are developing rapidly. First, the Russian National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on behalf of its presidium, announced the decision not to nominate a Russian film for the Oscars this year. Then the Oscar committee was outraged by this decision and made a series of high-profile demarches. comments Andrey Plakhov.
No, we are not talking about the suddenly increased artistic demands of filmmakers for their own production. Although the list of 122 Russian films that were recognized as theoretically capable of participating in the Oscar campaign does not arouse much enthusiasm. "1941. Wings over Berlin”, “World Champion”, “Wild”, “Love story”, “14+” - these are a few offhand titles, and the whole list is mainly as follows: it consists of films of low merit, and far from Oscar criteria as far from the moon. And the highly worthy film "Captain Volkonogov Fled" by Natalia Merkulova and Alexei Chupov could not be nominated for formal reasons, since it was never released.
But the reason for the decision is not an attack of self-criticism, but a political demarche: the non-nomination is a reaction to the US hostile actions against Russia.
Although Alexei Uchitel and even Andrei Konchalovsky spoke out in favor of the fact that one should not refuse to be nominated, the point of view of the more politically literate Nikita Mikhalkov decided the matter: “Choosing a film that will represent the Russian Federation in a country that, in fact, now denies the existence of Russia, is simply pointless."
Obviously, this senselessness was also deeply realized by the deputy chairman of the Union of Cinematographers (that is, the deputy of the same Mikhalkov) Larisa Solonitsyna: she decided “in the current political situation” not to provide the hall of the House of Cinematographers for a meeting of the Oscar committee.
Its chairman, Pavel Chukhrai, learned about the demarche of the “non-nominated” from the media and immediately announced his resignation and withdrawal from the Oscar committee. Following him, a similar decision was made by Nikolai Dostal, Andrei Zvyagintsev and Sergei Selyanov. Vera Storozheva and Vladimir Kott expressed their readiness to join them. In other words, in fact, the Oscar Committee of Russia has now ceased to exist.
And it arose sometime in the wake of perestroika, when filmmakers took power into their own hands, taking it away from party functionaries and departmental officials. In pre-perestroika times, either historical supergiants (War and Peace by Sergei Bondarchuk) or exotic essays on Soviet morals (Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears by Vladimir Menshov) could count on Hollywood's sympathy. The melodramas of Stanislav Rostotsky were twice nominated for the Academy Award - “The Dawns Here Are Quiet” (military) and “White Bim Black Ear” (environmental). The very first Soviet Oscar winner was the 1942 documentary The Defeat of German Troops near Moscow, directed by Leonid Varlamov and Ilya Kopalin. The history of this award is dedicated to the new film by Sergei Mokritsky "The First Oscar", which itself also seemed to have a chance for an Oscar nomination. But a new wave of anti-Americanism did not leave him a chance, which was not at the height of World War II, and even in the era of the Cold War, the successes of Soviet cinema at the Oscars were at least not considered meaningless: they were highly valued and viewed as victories in the camp of an ideological enemy.
The first perestroika Oscar Committee was headed by Elem Klimov. He was guided by a romantic approach: even though Russian cinema does not meet the Oscar criteria, we ourselves know what is really good, and we will put forward this.
Gradually the approach became more pragmatic; one way or another, the 1990s brought Russian cinema an Oscar for Burnt by the Sun by Nikita Mikhalkov and two nominations: they were awarded to Prisoner of the Caucasus by Sergei Bodrov Sr. and The Thief by Pavel Chukhrai. And in 2000, the Oscar was awarded to Alexander Petrov's animated film The Old Man and the Sea.
In the new century, the Oscar committee fell into direct dependence on Mikhalkov and the Film Academy he created. For more than twenty years, not a single Russian victory at the Oscars has happened, the nominees included Mikhalkov's 12, as well as Leviathan and Dislike by Andrei Zvyagintsev (the last two were qualified by noteworthy patriots as "Russophobic"). But after the "Citadel", nominated by Russia, did not get into the Oscar shortlists, Nikita Mikhalkov clearly lost interest in the once idolized "Oscar". And then the political winter came, and a turn from the West towards the East was announced. In May of this year, at the Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek, Mikhalkov proposed the creation of the Eurasian Film Academy - our analogue of the Oscars - and defiantly walked out of the Oscars committee. Now that the committee has actually dissolved itself, it's time to start implementing this brilliant idea.