Despite being snubbed by the Oscars, director Andrei Zvyagintsev's The Return swept to victory at the second edition of the Golden Eagles, one of Russia's two top film awards.

At a ceremony held Saturday night at the Mosfilm Studios the country's National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the top prize to The Return as well as the prize for best cinematography, which went to camera operator Mikhail Krichman.

The film which won two Golden Lions in Venice as well as critical claim has already been sold in 51 territories worldwide - a record for a Russian film.

Produced by Ren TV and distributed by Intercinema Art Agency the film has racked up more than $600,000 at the local box office since its release last year.

The Golden Eagles, founded last year by Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov as a rival to the existing NIKA awards, ran into criticism this year by excluding one of the country's top box office hits, Boomer, directed by Pyotr Buslov, from the nominations.

The youthful and fashionable Boomer has been championed by younger film critics who complain that the Golden Eagles are dominated by elderly film critics and professionals who are out of touch with the younger generation of Russian filmmakers.