Russia's new Academy of Film Art founded by director Nikita Mikhalkov has rolled out the first ever edition of its new awards for cinema excellence the Golden Eagles. But the awards which are being touted as Russia's answer to the Oscars have sparked a major controversy as they are competing head on with the 15 year-old NIKA awards, held in April, which also claims to be Russia's premier film event.

The Golden Eagle is also the name of the Polish Oscars although there is no connection between the two groups. Alexander Rogozhkin's The Cuckoo picked up the main prize for best film at the first Golden Eagle awards ceremony held at Mosfilm Studios last week.

Cuckoo also picked up prizes for best director and best screenplay for Rogozhkin as well as best actor for its star Victor Bychkov.

Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida handed out the prizes which also honoured Natalia Gundareva who received the prize for best actress for her role in Kirill Serebryannikov's Rostov-Papa. Cameraman Yury Nevsky received the prize for best cinematogrpahy for his work on Nikolai Lebedev's World War II action drama Star. Best foreign film went to Amelie.

Andrei Konchalovsky's House Of Fools which got the nod for the Russian entry for this year's Oscars failed to get any awards at all.