Oscars: Russia's Foreign-Language Selection Protested By Competing Producers


The contention is that Andrei Zvyagintsev's 'Leviathan' didn't have a proper release in Russia

The Russian Oscar Committee's decision to choose Andrei Zvyagintsev's Leviathan as Russia's submission for the 2015 foreign-language Oscar has stirred controversy as producers of the movie Gorko! (Kiss the Bride!) threatened that they were going to question that decision.

In a statement released on Sept. 28, Ilya Burets and Dmitry Nelidov, the producers of Gorko!, which was runner-up in the vote by the Russian Oscar Committee's members, called on Leviathan's producers to pull their film, claiming that the procedure was not observed.

Burets and Nelidov pointed to the fact that Leviathan hadn't yet had a commercial release in Russia and that it was screened for seven consecutive days at a single Russian movie theater only to comply with the Academy's regulations.

"Without diminishing Leviathan's merits, we expressed our protest against its choice as the Russian entry in the foreign-language film race," reads the statement.

"We are calling on Leviathan's producers to take what we believe would be a fair decision and pull the film and enter it for consideration next year, after a proper release in Russia," the statement reads further. "Otherwise we will have to appeal against the Oscar Committee's decision."

Leviathan, which won the best screenplay award at Cannes, is scheduled for release in Russia in early 2015.

Released in October 2013, Gorko!, a $1.5 million wedding comedy directed by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, grossed $25.5 million at the Russian box office, becoming the year's 12th-highest-grossing movie and the third-highest-grossing among local films. It also generated positive critical reviews.