May 01, 1998

A History of Oscar and Russian Films



The first Russian movie to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film was the documentary Rout of the German Troops near Moscow (1942). Since then, five Russian films have won this honor: Mark Donskoy’s Rainbow (1944), Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (1966-67), the Soviet-Japanese production Dersu Uzala (1976) directed by Akiro Kurosawa, Vladimir Menshov’s Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1981) and finally, the Russian-French production Burnt by the Sun (1995) directed by Nikita Mikhalkov.

A number of other Russian films have been nominated in this category, but did not win. There was Ivan Pyrev’s The Brothers Karamazov (1969) and Talankin’s Tchaikovsky (1970). Director Stanislav Rostotsky was nominated twice for his films And the Dawns Here are Quiet (1972) and White Bim – Black Ear (1977), starring a cute dog and Vyacheslav Tikhonov. Yuly Raizman’s Private Life (1982) and Pyotr Todorovsky’s A Battlefield Romance (1984) made it onto Oscar’s list somewhat unexpectedly. After that, Russian films suffered a drought until 1992, when Nikita Mikhalkov’s film Urga was nominated. Then, in 1997, there was Sergei Bodrov’s A Prisoner of the Caucasus {RL, February 1997} and this year, of course, Pavel Chukhrai’s The Thief.

Russian films have been nominated in other categories as well. Marcello Mastroanni was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Nikita Mikhalkov’s Black Eyes. Grigory Chukhrai’s Ballad of a Soldier competed for the title of best screenplay, and the films Khovanschina (1959) and Tchaikovsky (1970) were nominated for the category Best Musical Adaptation.


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