Did Kremlin Have Its Hands On Russia’s Choice For Oscars?
Russian critics are blaming the Kremlin and lamenting the country’s choice for the best foreign-language film entry at the Oscars. The most expensive film in the nation’s history — Burnt by the Sun-2: Citadel — was chosen despite being a box-office bomb. It was directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, a close friend of prime minister Vladimir Putin. Even the selection panel’s chairman, Oscar-winning director Vladimir Menshov, refused to sign off on the vote in protest. “The decision was unfair,” he told a correspondent from the UK’s Telegraph. “It was extremely badly received by critics, its box office receipts collapsed and it had no international festival success.” There were at least two other films that were more deserving, he added. Citadel is a three-hour take on the Red Army’s battle against the Nazis starring Mikhalkov himself and is the third installment of an epic saga. The first film in the trilogy, Burnt by the Sun, won an Oscar for the best foreign-language film in 1995. But Mikhalkov raised eyebrows by then making a two-part sequel over a period of eight years at a combined cost of $54M.

Canada Bars TV Firms From Exclusive TV, Internet Offers
Canadian media regulators today blocked companies that own TV networks from offering their programs exclusively to their mobile or Internet subscribers. Any program broadcast on TV — including hockey games, so you know they’re serious — must be made available to competitors under fair and reasonable terms. “Canadians shouldn’t be forced to buy a mobile device from a specific company or subscribe to its Internet service simply to access their favorite television programs,” the regulatory panel’s chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said in a statement. Not surprisingly, execs at Canada’s biggest media congloms, Bell Canada Enterprises and Quebecor Cable, were disappointed. BCE spokesman Mirko Bibic said the decision will stifle innovation. “The ability to test things out in the marketplace or to differentiate yourself with consumers is what competition is all about.” Companies can still offer exclusive programming to their Internet or mobile customers if it is produced specifically for the that purpose.

Rome Festival To Honor Richard Gere With Career Award
The American star of Pretty Woman and An Officer And a Gentleman will receive the Marcus Aurelius career award, organizers said today. The sixth edition of the Rome International Film Festival will run Oct. 27-Nov. 4. The fest will screen a restored version of Terrence Malick’s 1978 Days of Heaven, in which Gere starred. Gere will talk about his work with Malick and retrace the early stages of his career.