Israeli film gets Oscar nod

Two films with Jewish themes were nominated for Academy Awards for best foreign language film.

Israel’s entry, “Beaufort,” and Austria’s “The Counterfeiters” received the nod Tuesday, Jan. 22 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Beaufort,” directed by Joseph Cedar, is a wrenching war movie depicting the final action of the first Lebanon War, when a small Israeli unit evacuated the medieval Beaufort fortress. “Beaufort” is the first Israeli film to be nominated in the category since 1985. Seven Israeli films have been up for the award over the years, but none were winners.

Israel’s original submission, “The Band’s Visit,” was disqualified because a majority of the film’s dialogue was in English.

In the other Jewish-themed nominee, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s “The Counterfeiters,” the Nazis round up dozens of skilled Jewish craftsmen from concentration camps to create perfect counterfeits of British and U.S. currency in a last-ditch ploy to wreck the economies of the two allies.

Another Jewish-themed foreign film, Brazil’s “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” was among the nine semifinalists in the category but did not make the final cut.

It is the story of a boy with one Jewish parent who is thrown into an Orthodox environment when his parents flee the 1970 military dictatorship. The director, Cao Hamburger, is the grandson of Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany.

The Oscars will be handed out Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Tom Tugend

JTA Los Angeles correspondent