Paradise Now loses out at the Oscar's

South Africa's drama Tsotsi, won the Oscar Sunday night for foreign-language film.

paradise now 88 (photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
paradise now 88
(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
South Africa's drama Tsotsi, based on Athol Fugard's novel about a young hoodlum reclaiming his own humanity, won the Oscar Sunday night for foreign-language film, beating the controversial Palestinian terrorism saga, Paradise Now. An anonymous on-line petition to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was signed by 4,313 people in Israel and abroad, called upon the academy to withdraw Paradise Now from the list of nominations for best foreign film. Directed by Israeli-born Hany Abu-Assad from a screenplay he wrote with Dutch producer Bero Beyer, and starring Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman, Paradise Now chronicles 48 hours in the lives of two young men in Nablus who are sent on a suicide mission to Israel. After one of the two terrorists decides at the last minute to return home, the film ends with his friend sitting on a Tel Aviv bus with an explosive belt tied to his body - moments before the inevitable explosion. The petition argues that Paradise Now legitimizes mass murder, and portrays the murderers themselves as victims. "Hundreds of innocent men, women and children have been murdered by 'Palestinian' suicide-murderers in the past few years," the petition reads. "Giving an Oscar to this movie will glorify these murderers and the groups that have sent them. It may even encourage more murders of this type." The Academy Awards were down 10 percent from last year's ceremony, based on preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings from the nation's 55 biggest markets. If the full national ratings follow suit later Monday, this year's ceremony will likely be the second least-watched Oscars telecast behind 2003, when "Chicago" won best picture. The race drama Crash denied Brokeback MountainM the best-picture Oscar, despite the gay Western love story's front-runner status and its best-director award for Ang Lee. with Talya Halkin