MOSCOW — Russia’s shortlisted entry for the foreign language film Oscar, Nikita Mikhalkov’s “12,” received strong local endorsement at Friday’s Golden Eagle awards in Moscow, where it picked up five prizes, including film and director.
The Russian Academy of Film and Television Arts’ decision to award the best actor prize to the film’s 12-strong ensemble cast proved more controversial. The pic is a loose remake of Sidney Lumet’s “12 Angry Men,” which is given added frisson in the territory as this jury is casting a verdict on a Chechen defendant.
The ensemble playing in the pic, which picked up a special award at last year’s Venice festival, is outstanding, but many observers at the Eagle awards pointed out that academy members hadn’t even nominated Konstantin Lavronenko for his lead performance in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “The Banishment.” Zvyagintsev’s perf picked up the actor prize at Cannes.
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“12” also picked up the editing and music awards.
Mikhalkov was instrumental in setting up the Russian Academy of Film and Television Arts, which may have improved his pic’s chances.
Second place on the award count went to Stanislav Govorukhin’s romantic movie “The Actress,” which took best actress for Yevgeniya Dobrovolskaya, supporting actress for Maria Aronova and supporting actor for the late Alexander Abdulov, a very popular stage and screen performer who died at the beginning of this year.
Posthumous and emotional acclaim also went to Andrei Krasko, awarded for best TV actor, and the much-loved animation director and producer Alexander Tatarsky, the co-founder of the pioneering indie studio Pilot. The shingle took the animation award for its almanac project, “Mountain of Gems,” which has adapted a range of Russian folktales into short-screen format.
Prize for TV film went to Alexander Buravsky for “Leningrad,” starring Gabriel Byrne and Mira Sorvino, which also took the cinematography award for Vladimir Klimov.
TV series went to Nikolai Dostal for “Lenin’s Testament,” a loose biopic of Soviet dissident writer Valaam Sharlamov.
Big budget pics came away only modestly rewarded. Sergei Bodrov’s epic “Mongol” — which is up against Mikhalkov’s “12” in the Oscar countdown, representing Kazakhstan — took costume and sound noms, while Nikolai Lebedev’s blockbuster “Wolfhound” received only one kudo, for design.
Alexei Popogrebsky’s “Simple Things,” which won both film and director at last year’s Russian national festival Kinotavr, took just the script prize.
Academy member Vladimir Naumov (“Tehran-43”) received a lifetime achievement award, while Stephen Frears’ “The Queen” took the award for foreign film.