NEW YORK (AP) — “Navalny,” a look at Russia’s opposition leader after an assassination attempt, won the Oscar for best documentary feature on Sunday.
Director Daniel Roher’s portrayal of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny features secret agents, truth-seeking journalists, conspiracy theories and Soviet-era poisons. It is a film with obvious political weight after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Roher accepted his statuette saying that he dedicated it to Navalny and to all political prisoners in the world. “Alexei, the world has not forgotten your vital message for all of us: we must not be afraid to oppose dictatorships and authoritarianism wherever it stands.
Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said: “Alexei, I dream of the day when you will be free and our country will be free. Stay strong, my love.”
Navalny, 46, is a media-savvy anti-corruption campaigner who has been a headache for Russian President Vladimir Putin for years. He has published numerous reports on corruption in Russia and the Putin administration and has become a popular and unifying figure among like-minded Russians.
Roher met Navalny during his brief stay in Berlin in 2020 and early 2021, when the opposition leader was recovering from a poisoning that Navalny blames on Moscow. The media say Navalny is the Kremlin’s fiercest critic. And apparently he is not stopped by the intimidations and arrests he has suffered.
The film was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the People’s Documentary Award and the Festival’s Favorite Film Award.
“First and foremost, ‘Navalny’ is about the passion, drive and inspiring heroism of Alexei Navalny, who, even as we celebrate this award, continues to languish in a penal colony,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of CNN Worldwide. The film, presented by CNN Films and HBO Max, is CNN’s first Oscar.
The other feature documentaries nominated were “All That Breathes”, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”, “The Fire of Love” (“Volcanoes: The Tragedy of Katia and Maurice Krafft”) and “A house made of shards” (“A house in shards”).