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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Russia at the Oscars?

La Russophobe wanted to find out how well Russia did in receiving nominations and Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards this year, and while looking into it she stumbled across a post from Russia Blog (renamed "The Real Russia Project") stating that a film called "Ninth Company" by Russian director Fyodor Bondarchuk has received a nomination for best foreign language picture. Here's the screenshot of Russia Blog's post (click to enlarge):

So, La Russophobe was somewhat confused when she visited the official website of the Oscars and saw the five nominees for best foreign-language picture listed as follows:

As you can see, "Ninth Company" isn't among them ("Lives of Others" -- a chilling tale of Russian abuse of ordinary people behind the Iron Curtain which LR highly recommends -- was the winner). In fact, none of them have anything to do with Russia and, as far as La Russophobe could tell, Russia's only involvement with the nominees in any category this year was that the nominee for best animated short "Match Girl" took place in Russia (though its makers had nothing to do with the country) and the nominee/winner for best actress Helen Mirren is a Russian immigrant (formerly named "Yelena Mirinovskaya").

Upon looking into Russia Blog's misstatement further, La Russophobe discovered that "Ninth Company" was merely the film Russia chose to be its contender for a nomination this year, a contender that was rejected (surprise, surprise). So when Russia Blog stated "join us for a screening of one of the films nominated for the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, 9th Company - a Russian blockbuster about the Soviet war in Afghanistan" they were lying. Ninth Company was nominated for a nomination, that's all, not for the Oscar. Interestingly, in nearly two weeks nobody's pointed out this error in the comments, indicating that hardly anybody is actually paying attention to the Russophile nonsense spewed out at Russia Blog. Ironically, the "Ninth Company" post was basically a retred of a post Russia Blog issued in March 2006 purporting to "review" the film; this item contains a trackback to Russia blog itself referring to the film as "Russia's choice" for best foreign-language film (though the trackback doesn't find any Russia Blog article that actually says this).

One can, of course, take issue with the term "blockbuster" as well since (a) nobody in the outside world has ever heard of "Ninth Company" and (b) Russia Blog made no attempt to substantiate its box office receipts in Russia (it's their wont to ignore the need to provide sourced facts to back up their claims).

That's to say nothing of attempting to charge money for admission to this copyrighted film as Russia Blog's publisher proposes doing in his post, a clear violation of the law unless the publisher has permission from the owner to do so. And obviously, referring to "Ninth Company" as a film actually nominated for an Oscar would tend to draw in more money than accurately saying it was nominated for a nomination, so the false statement is actually self-serving not only in terms of making Russia look better than it is but in swelling Russia Blog's coffers.

If any readers have more information about Russia's actual role in the 2007 Oscars, LR would be pleased to receive it.


Anonymous said...

"indicating that hardly anybody is actually paying attention to the Russophile nonsense spewed out at Russia Blog."

Of course, it could mean that no-one pays any attention to the Oscars themselves these days - they're a bit of a bloated waste of space now, I reckon.

By the way - did you know that Helen Mirren's grandfather was a Russian nobleman who was stranded in Britain when the Russian Revolution began?

La Russophobe said...

It could mean that but it doesn't, because there were a bunch of other comments discussing various other issues, and Russia Blog is using the Oscar affilation to hype it's showing. Then again, perhaps all their readers are such morons that they don't realize what a waste the Oscars are. Might be something to that. Although the billion or so people who watched on TV might disagree.

I didn't know that about Helen. Just goes to show the heights Russians are capable of scaling once they manage to get out of the country!