The Russian short film “Boxballet,” directed by Anton Dyakov, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short category, the Russian news agency TASS reported Tuesday.
"I'm very happy,” Dyakov told TASS, commenting on the nomination. “I think that Russian non-profit animation deserves to be talked about and highlighted.”
“Boxballet,” an eccentric, 2D-animated short, tells an unlikely love story between boorish boxer named Yevgeny and graceful ballerina named Olga set against the backdrop of the August 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union, when the ballet “Swan Lake” was played in a loop on all the country’s television channels.
The film was produced by the CTB Film Company and Melnitsa Animation Studio. "Boxballet," which is Dyakov’s fifth animated film, has already won the IKAR National Animation Award for Best Short film.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its 2022 Oscar nominees Tuesday.
Russian feature films didn’t receive any nominations this year.
“Unclenching the Fists,” Kira Kovalenko’s drama set in an industrial town in North Ossetia, didn’t make Oscar shortlist for Best International Feature Film, despite winning the prize Un Certain Regard at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Russia won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1999 with Alexander Petrov’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”
The last film to represent the country at the Oscars before “Boxballet” was an artful and grim portrait of contemporary Russia, “Loveless” (2017), directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev.
“Boxballet” will be competing against four other international films: the stop-motion musical “Robin Robin” (UK); “The Windshield Wiper” (U.S./Spain), an artistic exploration of love; the eerie stop-motion short “Bestia” (Chile); and the hand-drawn animation “Affairs of the Art” (Canada/U.K.).
Dyakov said that he would be delighted if his Oscar nomination inspired people to learn more about the Russian animation industry, which, he said, had plenty of talent and interesting projects.
The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on March 27th.