Beaufort receives Oscar nod

Film by Joseph Cedar is first Israeli movie nominated for academy awards since 1984.

beaufort film 88 224 (photo credit: )
beaufort film 88 224
(photo credit: )
For the first time since 1984, an Israeli film has been nominated for an Academy Award. Beaufort, directed by Joseph Cedar, is one of the five finalists in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The last Israeli film to be nominated was Beyond The Walls. The nominations were announced Tuesday in Beverly Hills. The other nominees are The Counterfeiters, from Austria; Katyn, from Poland; Mongol, from Kazakhstan; and 12, from Russia. Cedar's film, which won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival last year, is based on the novel by Ron Leshem (who co-wrote the screenplay with Cedar) about the last unit of IDF soldiers to leave Lebanon in 2000. In September, the Israel Film Academy picked Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit as top picture of the year, automatically making it the country's entry in the Oscar race for best foreign language film. Under the rules of the American academy, more than half of the dialogue in such films must be in the country's own language. However, The Band's Visit, whose characters communicate mainly in broken English, didn't meet the requirement and was disqualified by the Oscar committee. Beaufort, the runner-up, then became Israel's entry. "This is a very positive film about Israeli soldiers, which acknowledges they experience fear," said Cedar, who had served in Lebanon, in an interview last year. "In combat, fear itself is a survival tool." Cedar added, "I think it's a very Israeli movie but also has a very universal aspect, and when you talk about talent and actors' abilities... that's something you can connect to even if you're not Israeli." "I'm very glad that now a broad audience will see the movie," said actor Oshri Cohen. I feel that films allow [us] to have a real dialogue with the world... cinema works better than politics and I'm glad to be a part of it. I'm happy that we'll go there and talk broken English and bring our story with us." Cedar previously directed the acclaimed movies Time of Favor and Campfire. In the main award categories announced Tuesday, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood led with eight Academy Awards nominations each, among them Best Picture and acting honors for Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem. No Country for Old Men, a crime saga about a drug deal gone bad, and There Will Be Blood, a historical epic set in California's oil boom years, will compete for Best Picture against the melancholy romance Atonement, the pregnancy comedy Juno and the legal drama Michael Clayton. Atonement and Michael Clayton trailed with seven nominations each, including Best Actor for George Clooney in the title role of Clayton. The lead actors in Atonement, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, were shut out on nominations, however, with teenager Saoirse Ronin the only performer nominated for that film, for Best Supporting Actress. The acting categories generally played out as expected - with a few surprises, including Best Actress nominee Laura Linney for The Savages and Best Actor nominee Tommy Lee Jones for In the Valley of Elah. Neither performance had been high on the awards radar so far this Oscar season. Along with Day-Lewis, Clooney and Jones, the other nominees for Best Actor were Johnny Depp, who won the Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy as the vengeful barber in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Viggo Mortensen as a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises. The Best Actress award looks to be a two-person duel between Julie Christie, Oscar winner for 1965's Darling, as a woman succumbing to Alzheimer's in Away From Her and Marion Cotillard as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. Both won Golden Globes, Christie for Best Actress in a Drama and Cotillard for musical or comedy actress. Yet they face strong competition from Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Linney and relative newcomer Ellen Page as a whip-smart pregnant teen in Juno. The Oscar ceremony is scheduled to take place on February 24. Hannah Brown and AP contributed to this report.