JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s culture minister breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday that her country’s contender had failed to land an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film - despite not having watched the movie.
“Foxtrot” tells the fictional story of an army checkpoint where bored Israeli troops shoot Arab passers-by after mistaking a soda can for a weapon, and then cover up the incident.
It became Israel’s Oscar submission after sweeping its national cinema awards, but the right-wing minister, Miri Regev, had called it anti-Israel.
On Tuesday, after the nominations were announced, she told Army Radio that they had “saved us from bitter disappointment and a false presentation of the Israel Defense Forces internationally”, while adding that she had not seen the movie.
Her previous criticism had prompted Israel’s Film and Television Academy to disinvite her from its annual prize ceremony in September, to which she responded with a threat to cut the academy’s government funding.
“Foxtrot” also won the Silver Lion grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in September. After accepting the award, writer-director Samuel Maoz said: “If I criticize the place I live, I do it because I worry. I do it because I want to protect it. I do it from love.”
Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Kevin Liffey