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Pro-Ukraine group calls on Academy to ‘review eligibility’ of Top Gun: Maverick for Oscars

UWC (Ukrainian World Congress) has asked the Academy Awards organizers to “review eligibility” for the Top Gun sequel to this year’s Academy Awards, because of alleged Russian ties.

Top Gun: Maverick stars Tom Cruise, who is returning to the skies 30 years after the original. It also wins best picture at the Oscars.

A few days prior to Sunday’s ceremony, the UWC published an open letter on the internet urging the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to “vigilantly” oppose “any attempts to influence Hollywood and American Society”.

Image: Cruise photographed at February’s Academy nominees luncheon. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

This follows a Los Angeles Times report that detailed the film’s funding ties to Dmitry Rybolovlev (a Russian oligarch) who was sanctioned Ukraine.


UWC claims that Mr Rybolovlev was not publicly identified as having been involved in the production. According to the UWC, there are “good reasons to believe his involvement could have resulted in censorship by the Kremlin”.

The film continued, “Top Gun: Maverick does not make any direct or indirect references to Russia. This is not a coincidence.

The UWC letter is addressed to Janet Yang, Academy president, and other members of the board. It calls for “appropriate actions” against films involving Russians.

More about Oscars

The letter stated that Ukrainens and friends from Ukraine around the globe are grateful to the Academy’s long-standing support for Ukraine.

“We were moved at the Academy Awards’ moment of silence in solidarity with Ukraine and the many tributes by Academy members.

“As they enter their second year of protecting the families against Russia’s full scale invasion, the Ukrainians are grateful for this vital support from such an influential and high-profile institution.”

The UWC expressed its “serious concerns” about Russian influence in Hollywood.

More information on the Oscars:

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UWC asked that the Academy “explicitly refuse films with any direct and indirect investments by Russian Oligarchs or other enablers for Russia’s genocidal War on Ukraine”.

The Academy should review the eligibility of Top Gun 2, the blockbuster sequel, and issue a strong statement condemning the war.

Paul Grod, the president of UWC, signed the letter. He concluded that “We can all make a difference in stopping Russia’s war crimes towards the Ukrainian people.”

Sky News reached out to Paramount Pictures, the Academy and Top Gun Maverick production companies, for comments.

The Academy Awards will be broadcast live on Sky News and Sky Showcase on Sunday, 12 March at 11:59. For all the details before the ceremony, listen to our Backstage podcast on Friday morning. Also, a special episode for the winners from Monday morning


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