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Disney cuts awarding of Ukrainian film “20 Days in Mariupol” in Best Documentary nomination from international TV version of Oscars

Director Mstyslav Chernov, producers Michelle Mizner and Raney Aronson-Rath win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Film for “20 Days in Mariupol”. Source: Screenshot from Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne
Disney cuts awarding of Ukrainian film “20 Days in Mariupol” in Best Documentary nomination from international TV version of Oscars

The Walt Disney Company Limited company, the broadcaster of the 2024 Oscars, cut the awarding of the Ukrainian film “20 Days in Mariupol” in the Best Documentary nomination and an acceptance speech of director Mstyslav Chernov from the international TV version of the Oscars.

On 11 March, the documentary “20 Days in Mariupol“, shot during the Russian siege of the Ukrainian city in 2022, won an Academy Award — the first for Ukraine.

In his speech on stage, Mstyslav Chernov said he wished he had never had to make this film and would exchange all the recognition he had for Russia never invading Ukraine.

“I wish to give [away] all the recognition [in exchange for] Russia not killing tens of thousands of my fellow Ukrainians. I wish for them to release all the hostages, all the soldiers who are protecting their lands, all the civilians who are now in their jails,” said Chernov at the ceremony. 

On the same day, Ukraine’s Suspilne, the exclusive broadcaster of the Oscars in Ukraine, scheduled the presentation of the international television version. However, after receiving the broadcast materials from Disney, Suspilne discovered that the awarding of Ukrainian documentarians was cut out.

The Suspilny team has expressed indignation to The Walt Disney Company Limited and announced it would broadcast the full version in Ukraine that aired live on the night of 11 March.

“Our team was shocked and deeply disappointed when we did not see the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ category in the editing of the international version, where the deserving award was won by the film ’20 Days in Mariupol’. 

Mstislav Chernov’s powerful speech highlights the unity between Ukraine and the world. It is even more regrettable to witness the exclusion of this impactful and truthful part from the version distributed to global licensees of the Academy Awards,” said Suspilne.

In its statement, Suspilne reminded that in 2023, the same nomination, in which a documentary about Russian political prisoner Alexei Navalny won, was included in a shortened version, as was the political speech of his wife Yulia Navalnaya, who accepted this seemingly apolitical award.

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