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The Israeli Academy for Film and Television confirmed yesterday that Joseph Cedar's Beaufort, and not Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit, will be Israel's official selection to vie for one of the five Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominations.
Normally, the winner of the Ophir Award for Best Picture, which is voted by the members of the the Israeli Academy, is the country's official selection. But late last week, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disqualified The Band's Visit, because it is mainly in English (although the characters are Israelis and Egyptians) and the US Academy rules state that films eligible for this category must be "predominantly" in a language or languages other than English.
After the disqualification, the Israeli Academy appealed the decision, but when the appeal was denied, a spokeswoman said that they had decided to send Beaufort instead. Beaufort received the second-highest number of votes in the Ophir balloting. In February, Beaufort was awarded the Silver Bear Award of the Berlin International Film Festival for its director, Joseph Cedar. The Band's Visit, which will be released in the US this winter, won several awards at Cannes. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22 and the awards will be given out on February 24.