In a statement, the Russian academy said: “The presidium of the Film Academy of Russia has decided not to nominate a national film for the Oscars award of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2022.”
The move deepens Moscow’s cultural isolation, and has not been met with universal acceptance, even within the country.
Pavel Chukhray, chairman of Russia’s Oscar nomination commission, resigned as a result of the move. In a letter shared on Tuesday, he described the decision not to submit a film as “illegal”, adding it was taken “behind his back”.
“The leadership of the [Film] Academy [of Russia] unilaterally decided not to nominate a Russian film for the Oscar nomination,” Chukhray wrote. The letter was published by state news agency Tass as they announced he was stepping down from his post.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prominent directors, including Kantemir Balagov and Kira Kovalenko, have emigrated. Balagov and Kovalenko each had movies submitted to the Oscars, in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Vitaly Mansky, one of Russia’s most celebrated documentary film-makers, has been placed on a wanted list over his criticism of the invasion.
Russia has won the award for best international feature film award, previously known as best foreign language film, only once before. That came in 1994 with Nikita Mikhalkov’s picture, Burnt by the Sun.
Mikhalkov, 76, now leads the Russian Cinematographers Union and is a vocal supporter of Vladimir Putin. Speaking about the decision not to submit a film to this year’s Oscars, Mikhalkov told Tass news that it “does not make sense” for Russia to participate.
“It seems to me that choosing a film that will represent Russia in a country, which in reality currently denies the existence of Russia, simply does not make sense,” he said.