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Israel has picked Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot as its official submission for Oscar consideration in the best foreign-language film category.
The drama, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this month, also took home eight Ophir Awards, awarded by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television, including best lead actor for Lior Ashkenazi (A Late Wedding), best director for Maoz and best film.
Foxtrot follows an affluent Tel Aviv family through gut-wrenching grief over the death of their son, a soldier in the Israel Defense Force, and continues to examine both the strength and the absurdity of military service from several points of view and shocking plot twists.
Alongside festival circuit acclaim, Foxtrot proved quite controversial locally, as Maoz’s film was slammed by Israel’s Minister of Culture & Sport Miri Regev, who referred to it as “further proof that the state must not fund films that can be used as weapons of propaganda in the hands of our enemies.”
In an effort to avoid further scandal, the Israeli Academy announced ahead of time that Regev was uninvited from attending the annual ceremony, fearing a political spectacle onstage.
This is Israel’s 50th submission in the foreign-language film Oscar category, with 10 films having earned a nomination over the years, the last of which was in 2011 for director Joseph Cedar’s Footnote. The country holds the distinction of having received the most mentions without a single win to its name.
The Academy Awards will be held March 4, 2018.
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