The title of Talya Lavie’s film may be Zero Motivation, but the movie received 12 nominations – the most for any film – when the nominees for the 25th Ophir Awards, the prizes of the Israel Academy for Film, were announced Tuesday in a Tel Aviv press conference.
Zero Motivation, a black comedy about female soldiers which won the Best Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival last spring, received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Dana Ivgy), two for Best Supporting Actress (Nelly Tagar and Shani Klein), as well as in six other categories.
The winner of the Ophir Award for Best Picture automatically becomes Israel’s choice to be considered for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
The other Best Picture nominees are Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, the third in their trilogy about a Moroccan woman trying to divorce her husband; Next to Her, Asaf Korman’s debut feature, which premiered at Cannes, about a young woman caring for her mentally retarded sister; Yona, Nir Bergman’s biopic about the legendary poet Yona Wallach; and Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon’s The Farewell Party, about a group of Jerusalem retirees who invent a euthanasia machine to help their terminally ill friend.
Gett and The Farewell Party will compete in the Toronto International Film Festival which runs from September 4-14.
The Best Director nominees matched up with the Best Picture nominees. The Best Screenplay nominations almost matched, except that Nadav Lapid received a nomination for his screenplay for The Kindergarten Teacher, and the screenplay for Yona was not nominated.
In addition to Dana Ivgy for Zero Motivation, the Best Actress nominees are Ronit Elkabetz (who has won two Ophir Awards) for Gett; Shira Haas, who won the Best Actress Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival last month, for Princess; Levana Finkelstein for The Farewell Party; Liron Ben-Shlush for Next to Her (for which she also received a nomination for screenplay); and Naomi Levov for Yona.
The Best Actor nominees are Menashe Noy, who won the Best Actor Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival, for Gett; Neveh Tzur for Valley; Ze’ev Revach, the veteran actor and comic, for The Farewell Party; Yossi Marshek for Manpower; and Tawfeek Barhom for Dancing Arabs.
In addition to Nelly Tagar for Zero Motivation, Shani Klein, who plays her commander in the film, received a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
The other nominees in this category are Dana Ivgy, who in addition to her Best Actress nod for Zero Motivation is nominated in the supporting category for Next to Her; Aliza Rosen for The Farewell Party; and Reymond Amsellem, for Apples from the Desert.
It’s puzzling that Nelly Tagar, who had a leading role in Zero Motivation, did not receive a Best Actress nod for her performance alongside Dana Ivgy, but the Academy is often loathe to nominate two actors from one movie in the same category. Last year, in a similar move, Bethlehem’s Tsahi Halevy, who was a lead in the film, was nominated in the supporting category (and won) and not against his co-star, Shadi Mar’i, for Best Actor.
The Best Supporting Actor nominees feature some familiar faces: Michael Moshonov, who has won two Ophir Awards (one for Best Actor and one for Supporting Actor), for Dancing Arabs; Sasson Gabai, who has also won two previous Ophirs, for Gett; Ilan Dar, for The Farewell Party; Elisheva Banai, for Apples from the Desert; and Yaakov Zada Daniel from Next to Her.
In the feature-length documentary category, the nominees are Nadav Schirman’s The Green Prince, about the son of a Hamas leader who spied for the Shin Bet, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival; Vanessa Lapa’s The Decent One, about Heinrich Himmler, which won the award for the Best Israeli Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival; Yael Reuveny’s Farewell, Herr Schwarz, about a fateful decision a family made at the end of World War II; Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani’s Life Sentences, about the incredible true story of a Jewish woman and an Arab terrorist who marry, and the fate of their children; and Avigail Sperber’s Probation Time, about ultra-Orthodox parents and how they accept their daughters’ choices.
The Ophir Awards will be presented on September 21 at a ceremony to be held in Ashdod, to salute the south, and will be broadcast on Channel 10.