January 12, 2009 | 6:50 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
Israel’s “Waltz with Bashir” won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film on Sunday evening, solidifying its frontrunner status to take home Israel’s first Oscar at next month’s Academy Awards.
The edgy, animated film about a traumatized veteran trying to recover his memories of the first Lebanon War, beat out competing entries from Germany, France, Italy and Sweden.
In his brief acceptance speech, director Ari Folman dedicated his Golden Globe to the eight babies (including three of his own) born to the film’s production staff during the four years it took to complete the picture.
“I hope that when they grow up, these babies will watch this film together and will see it as an ancient video game that has nothing to do with reality,” Folman said.
During a panel discussion the previous day among the five foreign directors nominated for the award, Folman recounted a little anecdote.
When the second Lebanon War started in 2006, a friend asked him whether he wasn’t sorry that he didn’t have the film ready to go at that time, to give the anti-war drama more immediacy.
To which Folman quoted himself as responding, “Don’t worry, they’ll cook up another war.” Sure enough, many critics are now commenting on the picture’s relevance to the current fighting in Gaza.
An audience member asked Folman whether the film’s depiction of Israeli warfare in Lebanon had drawn any protests in his home country, to which Folman responded, “No, Israelis are very tolerant toward their artists.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which awards the Golden Globes, honored filmmaker Steven Spielberg with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
Britain’s Kate Winslet took home the trophy for best supporting actress for her role as a former SS concentration camp guard in “The Reader.” She also won the best actress award for her portrayal of a suburban housewife in “Revolutionary Road.”
Veteran director Woody Allen showed that he was still in the game when his film “Vicky Christina Barcelona” garnered top honors for best musical or comedy picture.
Israelis could also take some vicarious satisfaction that the HBO drama “In Treatment,” which was adapted from the Israeli TV hit “B’Tipul,” won the best performance by an actor nod for Gabriel Byrne as the show’s psychiatrist.
The evening’s trophy champ was “Slumdog Millionaire,” the rags-to-riches story of an unlikely Indian game show contestant, which won for best dramatic picture, director, screenplay and musical score.
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