“The bar for verisimilitude is so low right now that, even in an excellent film like The Bourne Identity, Bourne’s ‘Russian’ passport is filled with random gibberish. We’d like to reward the ones doing it right. This year, we’re proud to acknowledge Mr. Mortensen, whose star turn in Eastern Promises is amazingly sensitive, multifaceted, and above all authentic. His character even speaks a specific old-school thief slang, and switches to Ukrainian when comforting a Ukrainian woman.”
About the Award
Named after a hard-to-master feature of Slavic pronunciation, the Rolling R is playfully described by its founders as an award for “General Excellence In Acting Russian.” “Almost every major American actor has, at some point, tried on a Russian accent,” writes RUSSIA! Magazine in its Fall 2007 issue. “Tom Cruise? Spoke it in Mission: Impossible. Bruce Willis? The Jackal. Val Kilmer? The Saint. Al Pacino? The Devil’s Advocate. Almost all of them sucked.”
RUSSIA!’s own list of five all-time best “Russian” performances, published in the same issue, has Nicole Kidman at the top for her turn in the little-seen Birthday Girl. She is followed by John Malkovich in Rounders, Cate Blanchett in The Man Who Cried, and the duo of Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell in Little Odessa. All future performances, the magazine explains, will be judged against these five. The actual award consists of a certificate and a round mini-sculpture.