It’s the night before the Oscar nominations. Marianna Yarovskaya is selecting the best caviar, with which she hopes to be celebrating the next day.

  • Local filmmaker was among those on a shortlist for short documentary
  • Her film Women of The Gulag was selected from 104 submissions
  • Although ultimately not nominated, she remained upbeat

Her short documentary film Woman of the Gulag,  is one out of 10 films that made it in the Oscar Shortlist. No matter the outcome, she wants to celebrate with the people who made the film a reality. 

“I’m quite nervous. And I’m not sure whether to stay up for five in the morning or whether to ignore it and just wake up and turn on the phone and see congratulations,” she said. 

She is talking about the morning of the Oscar nominations. She could be one step closer to that coveted gold statuette. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced nine shortlists in consideration for the 91st Oscars® in nine categories which are Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, and Visual Effects.

In Yarovskaya's case, members who belong in the documentary branch selected her film out of 104 short doc submissions that were eligible to compete. Now she waits. Only five films will get nominated. Out of those five films, only one wins the Oscar.

“It’s kind of like getting the bronze medal. Now to advance to silver... you have to be nominated. So out of 10 they will pick five and we will know tomorrow.”

Women of the Gulag tells the stories of six women who were among the last survivors of the gulags, the brutal system of repression and terror that devastated the Soviet population during the regime of Stalin in the 1930s. 

Yarovskaya has already won a Student Academy Award in 2001 for her film Undesirables.

“Fourteen percent of people who get a student Oscar, end up getting a real one," she said. "And I thought that’s 14 percent more than any Russian women I know. So maybe I have a chance.”

It’s been 14 hours since the Oscar nominations were announced.

“I feel we made a really good movie. I could have envisioned it to be Oscar nominated versus just Oscar shortlisted. And I feel also that being on an Oscar shortlist is still a huge honor.  

In the end, she didn’t get nominated. Out of the three women directors to get shortlisted in her category, only one got nominated.

But she remained upbeat about what the future could bring.

“The film will have a very long life,” she said. “Cheers.”

Because in the end, finishing a film to share with the world, is accomplishment enough. 

You can check out her website for more updates at: