'Footnote' wins top prize at Ophir Awards

Film which won Best Screenplay at Cannes takes top prize at Israeli awards; will be official selection for best foreign film at Oscars.

Joseph Cedar 311 (photo credit: Itzik Biran)
Joseph Cedar 311
(photo credit: Itzik Biran)
Footnote was the big winner at the 22nd Ophir Awards, the prizes of the Israel Academy for Film, which were handed out at a ceremony in Haifa on Thursday night.
Footnote won the award for Best Picture, a particularly important prize since the winner is Israel’s official selection for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Footnote, which tells the story of a bitter rivalry between a father and son who are both Talmud scholars, brought its director a major prize earlier this year when writer/director Joseph Cedar took home the Best Screenplay Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
At the Ophirs this year, he won Best Director and Best Screenplay. Footnote was nominated for 13 Ophir Awards, more than any other film, and won nine of them.
In the acting categories, two actresses who played tormented sisters of Moroccan descent in Marco Carmel’s My Lovely Sister, won Best Actress (Evelyn Hagoel) and Best Supporting Actress (Reymonde Amsallem).
In the Best Actor category, Shlomo Bar Aba in Footnote edged out Sasson Gabai in Restoration. And Bar Aba’s co-star, Lior Ashkenazi, won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Bar Aba’s son.
Oscar watchers will have to wait till January to find out whether Israel will get another Best Oscar nomination. From 2008 to 2010, three Israeli films – Cedar’s Beaufort, Waltz with Bashir, and Ajami – received Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nods. One thing is certain – Cedar is now the Academy’s favorite director. His previous films, Time of Favor (2000) and Campfire (2004), won the Ophir Award for Best Picture. His 2007 film, Beaufort, also got the chance to represent Israel at the Oscars when it turned out the Ophir winner, The Band’s Visit, had too much English dialogue to qualify for that category.
In any case, the prize for Footnote caps a strong year for the Israeli film industry, one in which its films competed and won at dozens of international film festivals.