Oscars viewers point out painfully awkward moment following Ukrainian war documentary winner's speech

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By stefan armitage

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One of the most painfully awkward moments in Oscars history just unfolded in front of our very eyes... and ears.

In a momentous moment, the Ukrainian documentary 20 Days in Mariupol clinched the coveted title of Best Documentary at the 96th annual Academy Awards.

Directed by Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist who captured the harrowing realities of the Russian assault on Mariupol, this remarkable film transported audiences into the heart of the besieged city.

Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023, 20 Days in Mariupol has been hailed as a poignant testimony to the horrors of war.

Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty

Amidst stiff competition, including the acclaimed Ugandan political documentary Bobi Wine: The People’s President and the poignant Alzheimer’s study The Eternal Memory, 20 Days in Mariupol emerged as a frontrunner for the prestigious award. Its triumph marks a significant milestone for Ukrainian cinema, securing the country's first-ever Oscar win.

Taking the stage to accept the award, Chernov delivered a powerful message that resonated far beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. "I am honored, but I will probably be the first director on this stage to say that I wish I had never made this film," he confessed, his words dripping with raw emotion.

Expressing his heartfelt wishes for peace, Chernov emphasized the profound human cost of conflict. "I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never invading our cities," he declared passionately. "I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia not killing 10,000 of my fellow Ukrainians."

But amidst his anguish, Chernov remained steadfast in his commitment to remembrance. "I cannot change history. I cannot change the past," he acknowledged. "But we all together, you – some of the most talented people in the world – can make sure the history record is set straight and the truth will prevail."

In a poignant tribute to his homeland, Chernov concluded with a heartfelt acknowledgment: "Thanks to Ukraine."

However, as Chernov exited the stage, the live orchestra opted to play a cover of the upbeat and silly 'I'm Just Ken' from the Barbie movie - offering a jarring contrast to the emotional speech the director had just delivered.

And the moment didn't go unnoticed by viewers, with one X user writing: "Playing off the Ukrainian war doc winner with orchestral I’m just Ken lmao."

A second added: "Playing out the 20 Days in Mariupol team with I'm Just Ken is absolutely insane #Oscars."

"I personally would not have played off the Ukrainian speech with I’m just ken but that’s just me," a third tweeted.

This is certainly a blunder the show's producers surely should have avoided.

Featured image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty

Oscars viewers point out painfully awkward moment following Ukrainian war documentary winner's speech

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

One of the most painfully awkward moments in Oscars history just unfolded in front of our very eyes... and ears.

In a momentous moment, the Ukrainian documentary 20 Days in Mariupol clinched the coveted title of Best Documentary at the 96th annual Academy Awards.

Directed by Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist who captured the harrowing realities of the Russian assault on Mariupol, this remarkable film transported audiences into the heart of the besieged city.

Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023, 20 Days in Mariupol has been hailed as a poignant testimony to the horrors of war.

Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty

Amidst stiff competition, including the acclaimed Ugandan political documentary Bobi Wine: The People’s President and the poignant Alzheimer’s study The Eternal Memory, 20 Days in Mariupol emerged as a frontrunner for the prestigious award. Its triumph marks a significant milestone for Ukrainian cinema, securing the country's first-ever Oscar win.

Taking the stage to accept the award, Chernov delivered a powerful message that resonated far beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. "I am honored, but I will probably be the first director on this stage to say that I wish I had never made this film," he confessed, his words dripping with raw emotion.

Expressing his heartfelt wishes for peace, Chernov emphasized the profound human cost of conflict. "I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never invading our cities," he declared passionately. "I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia not killing 10,000 of my fellow Ukrainians."

But amidst his anguish, Chernov remained steadfast in his commitment to remembrance. "I cannot change history. I cannot change the past," he acknowledged. "But we all together, you – some of the most talented people in the world – can make sure the history record is set straight and the truth will prevail."

In a poignant tribute to his homeland, Chernov concluded with a heartfelt acknowledgment: "Thanks to Ukraine."

However, as Chernov exited the stage, the live orchestra opted to play a cover of the upbeat and silly 'I'm Just Ken' from the Barbie movie - offering a jarring contrast to the emotional speech the director had just delivered.

And the moment didn't go unnoticed by viewers, with one X user writing: "Playing off the Ukrainian war doc winner with orchestral I’m just Ken lmao."

A second added: "Playing out the 20 Days in Mariupol team with I'm Just Ken is absolutely insane #Oscars."

"I personally would not have played off the Ukrainian speech with I’m just ken but that’s just me," a third tweeted.

This is certainly a blunder the show's producers surely should have avoided.

Featured image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty