20 Days in Mariupol wins the first OSCARS for Ukraine

On the night of March 11, the 96th Academy Awards ceremony took place in Los Angeles. Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer collected the highest number of awards this year. The documentary 20 Days in Mariupol by Ukrainian journalist Mstyslav Chernov received the 2024 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film. This is the first Ukrainian film to win at the Oscars.

I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never invading our cities. I wish to be able to exchange this for Russian not killing 10,000 of my fellow Ukrainians. I wish for them to release all the hostages, all the soldiers who are protecting their land, all the civilians who are in their jails. But I cannot change history. I cannot change the past,

Mstyslav Chernov said in a traditional speech during the presentation of the statuette.

The full list of winners at the Oscars 2024

  • Best Film — Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan
  • Best Director — Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
  • Best Actor — Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
  • Best Actress — Emma Stone, Poor Things
  • Best Documentary Film — 20 days in Mariupol
  • Best Animated Film — The Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Best Supporting Actor — Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer
  • Best Supporting Actress — Dwayne Joy Randolph, The Holdovers
  • Best Original Screenplay — Anatomy of a Fall
  • Best Adapted Screenplay — American Fiction

20 Days in Mariupol became the first Ukrainian film by a Ukrainian director to be nominated for the Oscars since the independance. In 2022, the film A House Made of Splinters by Danish director Simon Lehreng Vilmont, co-produced by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Ukraine, was nominated for the best documentary film.

The documentary film 20 Days in Mariupol is the work of Ukrainian military correspondent and writer, AP videographer Mstyslav Chernov. It captures 20 days of the siege of Mariupol in February and March 2022, after the start of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The film was produced in cooperation with Associated Press and Frontline. The premiere took place on January 21, 2023 at Sundance, the largest independent film festival in the United States, where it entered the World Documentary competition program and received the Audience Award.