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Why did “Waltz” lose?

by Tom Tugend

February 25, 2009 | 6:28 pm

Why did Israel’s “Waltz With Bashir,” the presumed frontrunner in the Oscar race for best foreign-language film, lose out to the Japanese film “Departures”?

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has one theory.

“Given all that pre-Oscar prognostication, the awards themselves were remarkably free of surprises, except for the best foreign language victory of the Japan’s “Departures” over the more highly regarded ‘Waltz With Bashir’ and France’s ‘The Class,’ and that win, though hard to predict, is easily explainable,” Turan wrote.

“To vote in that category, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to see all five nominees, and the people who have that ability (a) skew older than the academy as a whole and (b) have a historic bias toward softer, rather than tougher films. 

“Of the five films nominated, only one film fit into that softer category. The tougher films canceled each other out and the soft votes all went to ‘Departures.’ End of story.”

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