Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Ukraine's First Oscar Hailed as Reminder of War's Horrors as Russian Drones Strike Buildings
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
March 11, 2024

Share

Oscar-winning director of “20 Days in Mariupol” says, “I wish to be able to exchange this to Russia never attacking Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: The award is “important for our entire country.”

Documentary was a joint production of AP and PBS’ “Frontline.”


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine awoke Monday to another day of war — Russian drones blasted buildings in the Kharkiv and Odesa regions — but also the news it had won its first Oscar.

The best documentary victory for Mstyslav Chernov’s “20 Days in Mariupol,” a harrowing first-person account by The Associated Press journalist of the early days of Russia’s invasion in 2022, was bittersweet.

“This is the first Oscar in Ukrainian history, and I’m honored,” an emotional Chernov said Sunday at the Academy Awards. “Probably I will be the first director on this stage to say I wish I’d never made this film, I wish to be able to exchange this to Russia never attacking Ukraine.”

Back home in his native Ukraine, the award was applauded for exposing the brutal devastation of the war and the message Chernov had sent to the world from one of the biggest stages.

Zelenskyy: Award ‘Important for Entire Country’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the award as “important for our entire country” and said he was grateful to the team and thanked journalists across the world still covering the war despite a decrease of attention as it has dragged into its third year and as much of the world’s focus has turned to Israel’s war against Hamas.

“The horrors of Mariupol must never be forgotten,” he said on social media. “The entire world must see and remember what the inhumane Russian invasion brought to our people. Cities and villages were destroyed, homes were burned, and entire families were killed by Russian shells and buried in their own backyards.”

The AP team of Chernov, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka, and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko arrived an hour before Russia began bombing the port city. Two weeks later, they were the last journalists working for an international outlet in the city, sending crucial dispatches to the outside world showing civilian casualties of all ages, the digging of mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital and the sheer extent of the devastation.

First Oscar Win for AP and ‘Frontline’

The documentary was a joint production of AP and PBS’ “Frontline.” Statuettes were awarded to Chernov, producer and editor Michelle Mizner, and producer Raney Aronson-Rath. The Oscar — and nomination — was a first for both Chernov, an AP video journalist, and the 178-year-old news organization. It was the first win for “Frontline” after two previous nominations.

Police officer Volodymyr Nikulin, who is featured prominently in the film as he helped the crew cover the story and ultimately escape Mariupol as Russian forces closed in, said he was happy the movie had won the prestigious award.

Nikulin, who was later injured helping victims of a Russian attack on Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region, ferried the crew around Mariupol in a desperate attempt to help them find a place where they could transmit their footage because he said it was vital the world could see what was happening. He said the film served as an important reminder of “the most difficult time for our country.”

“Right now, we may be facing a similarly challenging moment,” he told AP in Kyiv on Monday.

“But this film has shown that we can defend our country, that we are united. And at this time, if the world sees that we are fighting, the crimes the aggressor is committing in our country, how it destroys our cities, I believe that the world will support our efforts in the fight, and this will be decisive at this time.”

Ukraine’s human rights chief Dmytro Lubinets praised the documentary for showing “the truth to the whole world.”

“This awards ceremony is an opportunity to address millions of people. This is what the film director did by mentioning the occupation, prisoners of war, killing of Ukrainians by Russia, and illegal abduction of civilians,” he wrote on Telegram.

‘Navalny’ Won Best Documentary Last Year

The award marks the second consecutive Oscar documentary awarded for a film that has shone a harsh light on Russia.

Last year, “Navalny,” about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who died just last month in prison, won best documentary.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday refused to comment on “20 Days in Mariupol,” saying it wasn’t the Kremlin’s prerogative.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Navalny, congratulated the Mariupol team on “their truly deserving and important Oscar victory.”

Belarusian opposition leader in exile Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya sent “heartfelt congratulations” to Chernov, thanking him on X for “showing us that the truth is always stronger than lies.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

DON'T MISS

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

DON'T MISS

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

DON'T MISS

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

DON'T MISS

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

DON'T MISS

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

DON'T MISS

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

DON'T MISS

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

DON'T MISS

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

UP NEXT

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

UP NEXT

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

UP NEXT

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

3 hours ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

3 hours ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

5 hours ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

5 hours ago

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

7 hours ago

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

7 hours ago

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

7 hours ago

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

8 hours ago

A Near-Total Ban on Abortion Has Supercharged the Political Dynamics of Arizona, a Key Swing State

8 hours ago

Convicted Killer of College Student Kristin Smart Attacked at California Prison for Second Time

8 hours ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

SANTA ANA — A California man was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life for the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy who was riding in the back ...

34 mins ago

34 mins ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

2 hours ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

2 hours ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

3 hours ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

3 hours ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

5 hours ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

5 hours ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

7 hours ago

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend