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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Zelensky adviser lashes out at Oscars over Ukraine’s omission

Advisor to the President of Ukraine Mikhailo Podolyak has criticized the Oscars organizers for not allowing Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the ceremony honoring a film starring Russia’s most prominent critic.

The film Navalnyinvestigating the conspiracy to assassinate Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny received the Best Documentary Award during Sunday’s ceremony.

An outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, Navalny is serving a nine-year sentence in a high-security prison east of Moscow.

His family appeared at the ceremony and accepted the award for the film, directed by Canadian director Daniel Roe, which has put the spotlight back on the case of the Kremlin critic languishing in prison.

However, Podolyak condemned the decision not to allow Ukraine’s president to address the 95th Academy Awards virtually for the second year in a row, particularly when he was praising an opponent of the regime that started the still-raging war.

“If #Oscar is outside of politics, how are we supposed to understand Navalny’s documentary manifesto, in which internal Russian politics overflows?” Podoliak tweeted On Monday.

“If Oscar stands out from the context of the war in Ukraine and the mass murder of Ukrainians, why do you keep talking about humanism and justice?” he added.

Podolyak had said in an interview with the German outlet Picture that would be the drama of the First World War nothing new in the West can get an Oscar at a ceremony Zelenskyy can’t address, then “you won’t find a better example of hypocrisy in the film industry.”

“The word ridiculous would not be enough” he said“When you award a film about a war and you don’t recognize someone else… while you’re drinking champagne… you don’t want to hear a real story about a war happening here. Well, something’s wrong with you.”

Others took to Twitter to complain about the omission of Zelenskyy, suggesting that it amounts to hypocrisy if it is done to remain apolitical.

Journalist Danylo Mokryk tweeted: “No Mr. Zelensky, you can’t speak at the Oscars, it’s politics. But we’re giving ‘Navalny’ an Oscar, it’s not politics.”

“And Navalny’s wife will speak, that’s not politics either. But she won’t mention the invasion of her country in Ukraine because… Yes, you got it.”

Russian chess champion and opponent of Putin Gary Kasparov accused Hollywood of having “a long history of selling out to dictators,” adding “they love causes unless they threaten the bottom line.”

San Francisco Standard journalist Matthew Kupfer wrote: “If the academy had turned down an Oscar speech by Zelenskyy because it was ‘political’ but had Navalny’s family and that guy, I don’t think they would know what political means. “

Ukrainian lawyer Julia Kril wrote: “That Navalny wins without giving Zelenskyy “even a few minutes to talk about Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine clearly shows how screwed up, morally corrupt and unjust this world is”.

news week has reached out to the Academy Awards for comment.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin was reacting to the credit the film’s creators received over its biggest critic.

“I daresay there is some … politicization of the ceremony,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the state news agency Tass.

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