In a further sign of Russia’s withdrawal from contact with the Western world, the country’s film academy has unveiled that it will not be submitting a film for the upcoming 2023 international Oscar race.
The Oscars boycott comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and its ongoing war of aggression there.
Russia recently accused the U.S. administration of directly intervening in the war and has threatened to cut all official ties with the country.
But the decision by the Russian Academy to boycott the Oscars came as a surprise to Pavel Tchoukhraï, the head of the local Oscar committee, who told AFP the move was made “behind his back”. Tchoukhraï has since resigned.
Russia has regularly submitted films for the Oscars and Russian films have a strong track record with the US Academy. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless was a 2017 Oscar nominee. Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole (2019) and Andrei Konchalovsky’s Dear Comrades, were both shortlisted for the best international feature honor.
Russia’s military invasion led many major film festivals to ban films backed by the Russian state. There have also been calls for a blanket boycott of all Russian films, though few major festivals have taken that step.