Israel’s Oscar-nomination run hit another bump Friday , when “Fill the Void,” the country’s entry, failed to make the list of nine semi-finalists among foreign-language films.
This year’s entries from 71 countries showed a renewed interest in Holocaust and World War II themes. Although also shut out, five movies dealt with the Jewish fate during the Nazi era and its aftermath, one film with Talmudic roots, and one on the wartime clashes between Soviet and German forces.
“Fill the Void” by director Rana Burshtein centered on the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community in Tel Aviv.
Among the nine entries still in the race, Austria’s “Amour” and France’s “The Intouchables” are considered the frontrunners to walk away with the Oscar.
Other countries making the shortlist are Canada, Chile, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Romania and Switzerland. The Palestinian film, “When I Saw You,” failed to make the cut.
Except for 2010, Israel’s entries had made the elite list of five finalists since 2007, but without yet garnering the top prize. Last year’s submission was Joseph Cedar’s “Footnote,” representing one of the strongest bids by the Israeli film industry, but the trophy went to Iran’s “A Separation.”
Israel’s remaining hope lies in the documentary feature category. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences earlier announced the titles of 15 chosen semi-finalists, including “The Gatekeepers” by Israeli director Dror Moreh, and “5 Broken Cameras” by directors Emud Burnat, a Palestinian, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli.
The final shortlist of five foreign-language film nominees will be announced Jan. 10, 2013, and the Oscar winner crowned on Feb. 24 in Hollywood.