CNN wins its first Oscar

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CNN celebrated its first Oscar win in its nearly 43-year history at the 95th Academy Awards Ceremony Sunday night in Los Angeles, where “Navalny” won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature Film on March 12, 2023.

“’Navalny,’ first and foremost, is about the passion, drive, and inspiring heroism of Alexey Navalny, who even as we celebrate this award continues to languish in a penal colony,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president, talent and content development for CNN Worldwide in a statement.

“An extraordinary group of people were dedicated to keeping Alexey’s story in front of the world, from our indefatigable film team led by visionary director Daniel Roher to our partners at Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max, and of course our friends at Bellingcat and CNN’s Clarissa Ward.” Entelis added, “behind each project in CNN Films’ 10-year history is an incredible group of people who I know are beaming with pride today. This is a monumental win to have the global storytelling of CNN honored with an Academy Award and a testament to the lasting impact of CNN Films.”

The documentary is presented by CNN Films and HBO Max and explores the attempted assassination of enigmatic Russian anti-corruption campaigner and former presidential candidate, Alexey Navalny.

“In a riveting account that unwinds like a real-life thriller, director Daniel Roher methodically documents the careful research and analysis that unmasked Navalny’s would-be killers, and why they sought to kill the man Vladimir Putin apparently considers a serious threat to his power. Roher interweaves interviews with Navalny, Navalny’s family, and contemporaneous eyewitnesses to key events, with other records. The film follows the investigation into the assassination plot, and includes reporting from the investigative news organization, Bellingcat, and CNN,” notes the announcement of the win.

“Navalny” is directed and produced by Roher and produced by Odessa Rae of RaeFilm Studios, Diane Becker and Melanie Miller of Fishbowl Films, and Shane Boris of Cottage M. Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films, and Maria Pevchikh of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, are executive producers of the documentary. The film was edited by Langdon Page and Maya Daisy Hawke, with cinematography by Niki Waltl. Alexandra Hannibal serves as a supervising producer. Christo Grozev is the executive director for Bellingcat, whose work is featured in the film.

The documentary premiered at 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it received the U.S. Documentary Audience and Festival Favorite Awards. The film was released theatrically by Warner Bros. Pictures and is available to stream on HBO Max. The documentary has been honored with a BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, a PGA Award for Outstanding Producers of Documentary Motion Picture, a duPont-Columbia Award, two Cinema Eye Honors for Outstanding Production and the Audience Choice Prize, along with a Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Best Political Documentary.

“Navalny” marked CNN Films’ first win and second Academy Award nomination for Documentary Feature Film, following the 2019 nomination of “RBG.”