Head of Russia's Oscar Committee Calls for Giant Bomb/Official Selection to Withdraw on Account of It Sucks
You think the Oscars selection process gets political here? Just imagine sitting in the room when Russia's national Oscar committee grudgingly voted for Nikita Mikalhkov's enormous critical and commercial bomb, Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel (Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie), to become the country's official foreign language selection. Filmmaker and committee head Vladimir Menshov so strongly opposed the pick of the $45 million flop that he's now lobbying publicly for the film's director to pull out of the race.
Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel is an expensive period war sequel to 1994's Burnt by the Sun, a 1930s-set Stalinist Russia drama that won Mikalhkov the foreign language Oscar. The sequel picks up during World War II, but critics panned it for various offenses including bad acting, illogical retconning, and an inane script. With a production budget of $45 million, Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel only made $8.2 million back at the foreign box office when it opened in the spring of 2010. (A third Burnt by the Sun is reportedly in the works.)
"Even if we ignore the fact that audiences and critics hated the film, Citadel is part of a series," Menshov said in the Moskovskiye Novosti daily, via The Hollywood Reporter. "How can anyone who is out of the context make any sense of it?"
Mikalhkov has yet to oblige Menshov and withdraw from the Oscar race, but would you? Besides, terrible films wind up with Oscar nominations and wins every year. Granted, they're usually in technical categories (Norbit, Heaven's Gate - looking at you), not in major categories. And it's not like Burnt by the Sun 2 has gotten past the official selection stage to the shortlist or an actual nomination, which is really unlikely now.
But Menshov taking a stand against bad movies sets a noble example, and a good question; should a filmmaker decline a shot at an Oscar nod just because most everyone in the world hated their movie? And which bad Oscar nominees from the past deserve to have been pre-emptively taken out of the race on account of bad reviews and terrible returns?
While you mull it over, take a gander at the trailer for Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel. (It's in Russian, but you get the picture.)