Producers of Now a Kiss! contest Leviathan’s Oscar entry

Producers of Now a Kiss! contest Leviathan's Oscar entry
Andrey Zvyagintsev

2 October 2014
Text Nadia Beard

The producers of Russian film Now a Kiss! (Gorko!) have challenged the decision of Russia’s Oscar selection committee to put forward Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan as Russia’s entry in the foreign language competition Oscar this year.

In a letter to the committee, the producers requested that Leviathan be withdrawn from the race due to violating Oscar regulations. “According to the regulations of the American Academy, each country has the right to nominate one film released from between 1 October 2013 and 20 September 2014 and shown for a period of no less than seven days. Leviathan only meets the conditions formally: its week-long distribution in a single Russian cinema was organised specially for the Oscar race,” the letter reads.

Drawing attention to the record number of views for their film, the producers have threatened to appeal the selection committee’s decision if they do not withdraw Leviathan from the line-up.

They added: “Zvyagintsev’s film has not been appraised by a wide audience, and didn’t even get the chance to be, whereas Now a Kiss! was seen in cinemas by over 4.5 million people. Coming out in more than 1,500 cinemas, the film even after a year continues to be shown in cinemas.”

At the Russian selection committee’s meeting last Sunday, Now a Kiss! and Leviathan earned eight and 14 votes respectively.

Leviathan was in the main competition programme for the Cannes Film Festival this year, where it won a prize for best screenplay. Recounting a tale of small town corruption in Russia, Zvyagintsev’s film is a biting critique on corruption and fraud among Russia’s governing elite, surprising onlookers accustomed to government-backed patriotic cinema usually selected for the category.