Russia will not be submitting a film for consideration in the international feature category at the 2023 Oscars.
The Russian film academy announced the decision on Monday (September 26) in a statement (via the Guardian), which reads: “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.”
According to Variety, several members of Russia’s Oscar nomination committee, including chairman Pavel Tchoukhrai, have resigned following the decision.
In a letter published by state news agency Tass, the chairman blamed the Russian film academy for taking an “unilateral decision over the head of the committee” and described it as “unfair and illegal”.
This is the first time the country has boycotted the Oscars since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It comes as tensions between Russia and the US rise over the country’s war on Ukraine, which started in February this year.
As noted by Variety, some members of Russia’s Oscar committee resigned when the war started earlier this year. “We can’t do business as usual when we’re at war,” member Evgeniy Gindilis told the outlet.
“I left the committee on Feb. 27 after Russia invaded Ukraine. While it’s wrong that film festivals or awards ceremony are boycotting Russian films, I don’t feel that it’s right to participate in promoting Russian films at this time.”
Russia previously won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film, previously known as Best Foreign Language Film, with 1994’s Burnt By The Sun, which followed a Red Army officer and his family in the late 1930s during Stalin’s Great Purge.
The country was nominated in 2017 for Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, which won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2014, Russian crime drama Leviathan was also nominated in the international feature category.
The 95th Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on March 12, 2023.