What was feared has come true. I reported here last month about an early controversy surrounding the Israeli movie The Band’s Visit after it swept that country’s Ophir Awards (the equivalent to that country’s Oscars). Normally, this means the pic would be Israel’s submission for the Academy Award’s Best Foreign Language Film. But rivals were claiming that the political movie, about an Egyptian police band that mistakenly ends up stranded overnight in a small Israeli town, has more than 50% English dialogue and therefore must be ruled ineligible for the nomination. Now Haaretz, the Israeli news agency, is reporting that The Band’s Visit has indeed been disqualified. Israeli journalists say the Israeli Academy will appeal, but in all likelihood Beaufort, the runner-up for Israel’s Ophir Award, will be the film nominated. But The Band’s Visit Oscar hopes could still be alive: Sony Pictures Classics, which bought the Cannes award winning film’s foreign rights, may also enter the pic’s Israeli writer and director Eran Kolirin in the Best Original Screenplay category. (See my previous, Early Controversy Over Israeli Oscar Entry.)
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