Russia on Sunday put forward "Leviathan", a contemporary dark movie by director Andrei Zvyagintsev, as its nomination for the best foreign language film at the Oscars after it won a top prize at Cannes.
"We took the decision after a majority vote. 'Leviathan' is Russia's pick for the Oscars," film director Pavel Chukhrai, who sits on the Russian Oscar committee, told TASS news agency.
Leviathan, a harrowing drama assailing abuse of power in today's Russia, won best screenplay at the Cannes film festival in May.
But the film has run into trouble in Russia for its steady flow of swear words after a new law banned all obscenities in films shown in cinemas. It will go on wide release in November with the expletives beeped out.
Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky also offered subjective criticism of the film, saying: "It's talented but I don't like it."
Nevertheless Zvyagintsev has won critical acclaim in Russia as well as internationally for his bleak, dense and meticulously composed films.
His debut picture "The Return" won the Golden Lion top prize at the Venice film festival in 2003. His psychological drama about a dysfunctional family, "Elena", won prizes including Russia's prestigious Golden Eagle award for best film in 2012.
The choice of Russia's Oscar nomination attracted controversy this year when director Andrei Konchalovsky refused to put his film "The Postman's White Nights" forward after it won the Silver Lion for best director at Venice.
Konchalovsky said he made the decision because he opposes the predominance of Hollywood films in Russian cinemas and called the Oscars "over-rated".
Russia's choice will be submitted to the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which announces its shortlist of the five selected foreign entries in January, ahead of its Oscars ceremony to take place on February 22, 2015.
Russia last won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 1995, with Nikita Mikhalkov's period drama "Burnt by the Sun".