‘Footnote’ falls, continuing Israel’s Oscar drought

(JTA) — "Footnote” failed to win Israel’s first Academy Award, coming up short in the best foreign-language film category.

The film, directed and written by Joseph Cedar, was beaten out by the Iranian entry, "A Separation" by Asghar Farhadi, at the annual Oscars ceremony on Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

"Footnote," the story of the rivalry between two Talmudic scholars who are also father and son, was the second Academy Awards entry for Cedar, 43, a New York native who now lives in Tel Aviv. “Beaufort,” his film about the first Lebanon War, lost its bid in 2007.

Others vying in the best foreign-language film category included “In Darkness,” by Poland’s Agnieszka Holland, which follows the fate of a dozen Jewish men, women and children who hid for 14 months in the underground sewers of Lvov during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Also, “Bullhead” by Belgium’s Michael Roskam, and "Monsieur Lazhar” by Canada’s Philippe Falardeau.

At the Cannes Film Festival, "Footnote" was awarded the top prize for best screenplay, and in the United States the National Board of Reviews of Motion Pictures placed the film among the five top foreign-language features.

Cedar’s first two films, "Time of Favor” and “Campfire,” also were chosen as Israel’s entries to the Academy Awards but did not make the finals. They explored the gulf between observant and secular Israelis.

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