Foreign-Language Oscar: Armenian Submission Disqualified

The Hollywood Reporter

The Academy has disqualified Armenia's submission in the best foreign-language film race, Zemletryaseniye (Earthquake).

"The committee deemed that Earthquake did not meet submission requirements," a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "Armenia's selection committee was notified of the decision and given the opportunity to submit another film for consideration."

The Academy's problem with the film was that there are too many Russians and an insufficient number of Armenians among the crew, a spokesperson for Mars Media, the Moscow-based production company of Earthquake, told THR.

Mars Media sent to the Academy documents proving that the film was a coproduction between Armenia and Russia.

"We still hope that the film will be put on the list," Ruben Dishdishyan, head of Mars Media, said in a statement, adding that the film was "by 90 percent made by Armenians from Armenia, Russia and France".

Earthquake, a $3 million disaster movie directed by Sarik Andreasyan, is a dramatized recreation of one of the Soviet Union's most devastating natural disasters - the Spitak earthquake in northern Armenia in December 1988.

The pic was Armenia's fifth submission in the best foreign-language film Oscar category since the country gained independence in 1991.

None of the previous submissions - including If Only Everyone by Nataliya Belyauskene, Autumn of the Magician by Ruben Gevorkyants and Vahe Gevorkyants, Vodka Lemon by Hiner Saleem and Symphony of Silence by Vigen Chaldranyan - has been nominated for or won an award.

Read more: Oscars: Montenegro Selects 'The Black Pin' for Foreign-Language Category