96th Academy Award: ‘20 Days in Mariupol’ director says wish to exchange award for 'Russia never attacking Ukraine'

'20 Days in Mariupol' director Mstyslav Chernov gave a powerful speech in support of Ukraine while accepting the Academy Award for outstanding documentary feature.

20 Days in Mariupol’ director Mstyslav Chernov gave a powerful speech in support of Ukraine while accepting the Academy Award for outstanding documentary feature.

“This is the first Oscar in Ukrainian history. And I’m honoured,” Chernov said.

He added: “But probably I will be the first director on this stage who will say I wish I had never made this film. I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities.”

“Russians are killing tens of thousands of my fellow Ukrainians. I wish for them to release all the hostages, all the soldiers who are protecting their lands, and all the civilians who are now in their jails. But I cannot change history. I cannot change the past.”

Before concluding Chernov shared: “We altogether: you. I’m on you, some of the most talented people in the world.”

“We can make sure that the history record is set straight and that the truth will prevail and that the people of Mariupol and those who have given their lives will never be forgotten, because cinema forms memories, and memories form history.”

’20 Days in Mariupol’, which tells the story of the twenty days Chernov spent with his colleagues in besieged Mariupol after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, was nominated alongside “Bobi Wine: The People’s President”, “The Eternal Memory”, “Four Daughters” and “To Kill a Tiger”.

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