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Wife of Alexei Navalny Wins Oscar for Jailed Husband After Documentary About Him: “I’m Dreaming of the Day You’ll Be Free”

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny received a loving message from his wife from the Oscars podium after his film about her won best documentary feature.

“Thanks to everyone here,” said Yulia Navalnaya when director Daniel Rohr called her to the microphone after making his acceptance remarks. “My husband is in jail just for speaking the truth. My husband is in jail just for protecting democracy. Alexey, I’m dreaming of the day when you will be free and our country will be free. stay strong.”

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rohr’s documentary Navalny, from CNN Films, describes the toxic plot that nearly ended Alexey Navalny’s life. He was flying from Siberia to Moscow in August 2020 when he became deathly ill. The Russian doctors who initially treated him claimed that he was suffering from a metabolic disorder. But while Yulia successfully campaigned to have her husband transferred to Europe for further treatment, doctors in Germany concluded that he had been poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok.

Journalist Christo Grosev, who is among the main characters Navalny, helped expose the Kremlin apparatchiks behind the plot. In a notable scene in the film, Navalny himself spoke on the phone with an alleged conspirator, and – posing as a government official – asked the man to reveal misleading details of the assassination attempt. Rohr saluted both Grosev and Navalny’s colleague Maria Pevichik, who joined him on the Oscars stage.

“Thank you to the Academy. We are humbled to be with such an extraordinary crop of documentary filmmakers. These films redefined what it is to make a documentary,” said Roher. “We owe so much to our Bulgarian nerd with the laptop, Christo Grosev. You risked everything to tell this story and it is investigative journalists like you and Maria Pevchik who empower our work.

Rohr saved his most passionate remarks for Navalny himself. As shown in the film, the former lawyer recovered in Germany, then returned to Moscow in January 2021, where he was promptly arrested. He was convicted of allegedly violating parole on an earlier conviction and was later sentenced to an additional nine years in prison on charges of alleged fraud and contempt.

“There’s one person who couldn’t be with us tonight. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who remains in solitary confinement for what he says – I want to make sure we get his words exactly – ‘Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine’ in an unjust war of aggression,'” Rohr said, referring to the quote he had written in a notebook placed in front of him. “I want to dedicate this award to Navalny, to all political prisoners around the world. Alexey, the world hasn’t forgotten your important message for all of us. We can’t, we shouldn’t be afraid to oppose dictators and authoritarianism, wherever it raises its head.”

The Oscar win was shared by Rohr and producers Odessa Rae, Diane Baker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris (Boris was also nominated for producing fellow Best Documentary Feature nominee). fire of love,

The win came for the CNN Films division, which underwent major changes last year. After a decade of acquiring and producing films by outside talent, the network under new president Chris Licht announced that it would no longer follow that template, but would instead produce all future documentary content in-house.

CNN Films Earns Oscar Nominations for 2019 rbgDocumentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

Academy Award winner Riz Ahmed and filmmaker-composer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presented the category. Questlove won the Best Feature Documentary category last year summer of soulA victory was overshadowed by an incident just before he was announced as the winner: Chris Rock was introducing the category when he was attacked on stage by Will Smith (Rock had assaulted Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith). was jokingly insulted).

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel hinted at it while introducing Ahmed and Questlove to reveal this year’s best documentary feature. “You may remember we had a little skirmish last year,” Kimmel reminded the audience. “Let’s hope this year it goes off without a hitch or at least without a hitch Hitch, Please put your hands together — and then keep them to yourself — for Oscar winners Riz Ahmed and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.

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