The nominees for the 21st Ophir Awards, the prizes of the Israel Academy for Film and Television also known as the Israeli Oscars, were announced yesterday at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

Nir Bergman’s Intimate Grammar, a drama based on a novel by David Grossman, led the nominations, following its win for Best Feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival earlier this month. The other nominees were Avi Nesher’s Once I Was, which tells the story of a teen working for a matchmaker; Doron Tsabari’s quasi-documentary about the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Revolution 101; Guy Nativ’s The Flood, about how a family is thrown into turmoil when its oldest son, who is autistic, returns home from an institution; and Eran Riklis’s The Human Resources Manager, based on an A. B. Yehoshua novel.

The awards have drawn a great deal of attention in recent years, since the film that wins the Best Picture Ophir becomes Israel’s candidate to receive a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. During the past three years, three Israeli films were nominated in this category – Beaufort, Waltz with Bashir, and Ajami – but none won the Oscar.

Eighteen feature films and 56 documentaries were eligible for Ophir nominations this year.

In the Best Director category, the nominees mostly matched the films nominated for Best Picture, with the exception of Avi Nesher and Guy Nativ, who did not receive nominations.

In their places were Dover Kosashvili, the director of army drama Infiltration, and actor Moshe Ivgy, who directed And On the Third Day. This was a snub for Nesher in particular, whose Once I Was is a runaway critical and commercial success, but not an unexpected one. Nesher’s previous two films, Turn Left at the End of the World (2004) and The Secrets (2007) received neither Best Picture nor Best Director nominations in spite of their success.

Still, the star of Once I Was, Adir Miller, received a Best Actor nomination, along with Mark Evanir, for his role in The Human Resources Manager; Roi Alsberg (Intimate Grammar); Yossi Pollack (The X Explosion); and Yoav Rothman (The Flood).

The Best Actress nominees are Orly Zilbersatz, for Intimate Grammar; Maya Dagan, for Once I Was; Hila Fledman, for And On the Third Day; Liron Ben- Shalosh, for Maya; and Ronit Elkabetz, for The Flood.

The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in September.

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