Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers' wins critics' prize

Dror Moreh's film featuring interviews with all six surviving former Shin Bet chiefs awarded best nonfiction film prize by US critics.

January 6, 2013 03:27
2 minute read.
The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced Thursday in Los Angeles, and two Israeli movies received Best Documentary Oscar nods: Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers and Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s 5 Broken Cameras.

“Two Israeli documentaries have been nominated for Oscars,” said a delighted Moreh. “It’s the first time in history that has happened.”

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The Gatekeepers, a film featuring interviews with the former heads of the Shin Bet, and 5 Broken Cameras, about nonviolent resistance in a West Bank village, were both on the short list of 15 documentary contenders selected last month. Israel has never before had a nominee in the Best Documentary feature category, although the documentary short, Strangers No More, won an Oscar in 2011.

Israeli films have made the short list in the past, but none has made the final cut.

Israel has had four nominations since 2008 in the Best Foreign Language Film category, for Joseph Cedar’s Beaufort and Footnote, Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, and Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami.

Israel’s official entry this year, Rama Burshtein’s Fill the Void, did not make the Oscar short list.

In the most-watched categories, the big winner was Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, with 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Daniel Day- Lewis) and Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field).

The other eight nominees for Best Picture were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, The Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.

The other Best Actor nominees are Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, and Denzel Washington for Flight.

The Best Actress nominees are Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Naomi Watts for The Impossible.

The unprecedented two nominations for Israeli documentaries is a testament to the vitality of the Israeli movie scene over the last decade. Both The Gatekeepers and 5 Broken Cameras have won numerous awards already. The National Society of Film Critics in the US gave The Gatekeepers its Best Documentary Award last week, and 5 Broken Cameras won the World Cinema Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

The Academy Awards will be given out on February 24 in Hollywood.

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