Russian Invasion’s Impact on Ukraine’s Film Industry, Update On Oscars Backlash, Diversity At The 2022 SAG Awards, NAACP Image Awards 2022 Recap


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is making a huge impact on the film industry, there is continued backlash over the Academy’s decision to not livestream all Oscars categories, this year’s SAG awards showed diversity for the winners, and the 2022 NAACP Image Award winners announced. 


By Lauren Cali 
March 2, 2022 

Russian Invasion’s Impact on Ukraine’s Film Industry 


The Ukrainian film industry is taking a stand against Russia’s recent invasion of their country. The Ukrainian Film Academy released a petition calling for an international boycott of Russian cinema- Deadline reports.  

The petition stated: 
 “Several films made by Russia are regularly admitted to the programs of most world film festivals, and significant resources are spent on their promotion. The result of this activity is not only the spread of propaganda messages and distorted facts. It also boosts the loyalty of Russian culture – the culture of the aggressor state, which unleashed unjustified and unprovoked war in central Europe.”

The petition requested the following items for: 
  • Festivals to not allow Russian films in their programs
  • Producers to terminate business with the Russian Federation
  • The Council of Europe and the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production to exclude Russia from funding body Eurimages 
  • The International Federation of Film Producers Associations to deprive the Moscow International Film Festival of accreditation
  • The European Audiovisual Production association аnd the European Federation for Commercial Film Producers to cease cooperation with “audiovisual producers who support aggression against Ukraine”.
The European Film Academy joined the call for the boycott of Russian films- Deadline reports . A statement by the EFA said: 
 “The Academy strongly condemns the war started by Russia – Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory must be respected. Putin’s actions are atrocious and totally unacceptable, and we strongly condemn them.”

Film and TV production has completely halted in Ukraine- The Wrap reports. Various European filmmakers are scrambling to help get Ukrainians away from the front lines. Amongst them is the Producer of "Flee"

In addition to the petition and boycott, the American film industry is taking a stand. The following studios have halted releases in Russia in response to the invasion- The Wrap Reports. 

Paramount
  • "The Lost City"
  • "Sonic The Hedgehog 2"
Warner Bros
  • "The Batman"
Disney
  • "Turning Red"
Sony
  • Morbius 
  • Theatrical releases "Belfast", "The Bad Guys",  "Ambulance", and "Jurassic World Dominion". 
DirecTV has dropped RT America, a Russian state media channel- The Wrap Reports.

UPDATE: Oscar Backlash Continues 


The Set Decorators Society of America is the most recent organization that has condemned the Academy over its decision to cut certain categories from the live Oscars broadcast- Variety reports

In its letter, the organization was specifically focused on the best production design category: 
“The diminution of these specific awards, which you declare to be ‘the fat in need of trimming’ from the broadcast in order to make it more entertaining, is punitive not only to the individual artists singled out for this treatment, but to entire industries represented by each one, who take enormous pride in their part in the creation of each nominated and winning film in the Academy competition. We are all diminished by this action, and infuriated by it.”

The Alliance for Women Film Composers has also condemned the Academy- Variety reports . The AWFC’s statement notes the importance of the original score category, which this year celebrates milestones for the first woman of color nominated as a composer and the first woman in history to score a Disney feature film: 
“Moving the award out of the live-telecast and editing it down will degrade the importance of this category. What message does this decision give to young people who dream of becoming a composer, to follow in the footsteps of composers such as Hildur Gudnadóttir, Rachel Portman, Anne Dudley and Germaine Franco? We feel it gives the message that music doesn’t matter to the Oscars.”

Diversity at the 2022 SAG Awards 


This year’s 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards represents a milestone in diversifying these awards- The Hollywood Reporter reports.  

CODA
"CODA" , a film directed by Sian Heder, brought home multiple wins. Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor to be nominated and win a sole acting prize in SAG history. He gave his speech in sign language and said, “I’m so grateful to Apple TV+ for all their support and access, like burned-in closed captioning, providing ASL interpreting services and believing in us deaf actors and casting us authentically as actors who happen to be deaf.” 

The other win for "CODA" was for Cast in a Motion Picture. Marlee Matlin, who was the first deaf actor to win an Oscar in 1987, said “It’s a night that I’ve been waiting for for 35 years. It has been time and this just validates, among those people who voted for us at SAG-AFTRA, they knew we are their peers, their equals. We are all actors and this [recognition] had to really give more opportunities for other actors out there, who or whatever they may be.” 

More about the film and the win can be found here

Acceptance speeches were given not only in American Sign Language, but also in Korean, given by Haley Jung.  

Squid Game 
"Squid Game" brought home multiple wins as well. Lee Jung-jae became the first male actor from Asia to win an individual SAG Award, winning in the Male Actor in a Drama Series category. Jung Ho-yeon became the first female actor from Asia to win in the television category  for Female Actor in a Drama Series. 

"Squid Game" also won best Stunt Ensemble in a TV Series. The wins for "Squid Game" are a huge step for the future of Korean Entertainment

Deaf actors, Asian actors and Black actors all took home statues at this year’s SAG Awards. Will Smith was awarded outstanding Male Lead Actor in "King Richard", and Ariana DeBose took home outstanding Female Supporting Actor award for "West Side Story", and said “It’s an honor to be seen. It’s just indicative that the doors are opening. I will not be the last, and that’s the important part.” Ariana’s full acceptance speech can be found here

The full list of winners can be found here

NAACP Image Awards 2022 Recap


Jennifer Hudson was a top winner at this year’s NAACP Image Awards. She won Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. This year’s President's Award was given to Prince Harry and Megan Markle, who made a tribute to Princess Diana- International Business Times reports.  

Highlights of this year’s winners are below. 

Entertainer of the year
  • Jennifer Hudson
Outstanding motion picture
  • “The Harder They Fall”
Outstanding actor in a motion picture
  • Will Smith, “King Richard”
Outstanding actress in a motion picture
  • Jennifer Hudson, “Respect”
Outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture
  • Regina King, “The Harder They Fall”

The full list of winners can be found here

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Lauren Cali writes the weekly entertainment industry news blog for Productions.com. She’s a Social Media Specialist and a graduate of Elmhurst College.