Russians Lift Vodka Glasses to DiCaprio

04/22/2003 at 11:05 AM EDT

Oscar may have overlooked Leonardo DiCaprio for his performances in "Gangs of New York" and "Catch Me If You Can," but the star is receiving better treatment across the Atlantic. Far across the Atlantic.

The Russian International Film Festival has awarded the "Titanic" leading man, 28, its Tower Award for his contribution to world cinema, the Associated Press reports.

Only thing: the festival is not taking place in Moscow or St. Petersburg, or even Kiev, but in Los Angeles, at the ArcLight Hollywood Theaters on Sunset Boulevard.

DiCaprio, described as a Russian film aficionado, introduced director Sergei Eisenstein's classic 1925 silent film "Battleship Potemkin" at the festival, and he collected his award from festival director Stas Namin on Sunday.

Included in DiCaprio's posse for the honor were his grandmother, Yelena Smirnova, who emigrated from Russia 40 years ago, and his father, George DiCaprio.

"I respect Russian culture and Russian cinema, especially Eisenstein, (Andrei) Tarkovsky, and (Sergei) Paradzhanov," said DiCaprio (presumably in English). "I'm definitely going to catch some more movies at this festival."

Fest director Namin, extolling the world-class cinematic talents of DiCaprio, noted that the leading man studied the methods of famed Russian actors Mikhail Chekhov and Constantin Stanislavsky.

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