The Shmooze

The End of Israel's Three-Year Streak Toward Oscar Glory

By Nathan Burstein

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This year’s Academy Award nominees won’t be announced until Tuesday, but Israel already knows its hot streak at the Oscars is over.

“The Human Resources Manager,” Israel’s foreign-language submission, failed to make it onto the short list of nine films in the category, announced Wednesday. The final five nominees will be announced January 25, along with nominees in the other Oscar categories.

Consequently, this year will be the first time since 2007 that Israel’s submission has not been nominated in the foreign-language category.

Though the country has never taken home an Oscar, its three consecutive nominations between 2008 and 2010 — for the films “Beaufort,” “Waltz With Bashir” and “Ajami” — were a rare feat at the Academy Awards. It had been nearly 30 years since any other country had achieved three back-to-back nominations.

Despite disappointment in the Israeli film industry, the result wasn’t entirely a surprise. Although “The Human Resources Manager” screened at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and earned the audience award at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, it failed to generate the buzz of its predecessors.

Based on a novel by A.B. Yehoshua, the movie tells the story of a factory manager who travels to Russia for the burial of a foreign worker killed in a Jerusalem terror attack. The film claimed several top prizes at the Ophirs, Israel’s version of the Academy Awards, including best picture and best director for filmmaker Eran Riklis.

Still in the running for Oscar nominations are films from countries including Greece, Canada, Denmark and Algeria.


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