Much-lauded Bashir gets Oscar nod

An Israeli film will be up for a top honor at this year’s Academy Awards. The animated documentary “Waltz With Bashir” has snagged a nomination in the best foreign language film category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Jan. 22.

“Bashir,” currently playing at the Clay Theatre in San Francisco, comes on the heels of last year’s nominated “Beaufort,” which was set against the backdrop of the Israel Defense Forces’ withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. “Beaufort” lost to the Austrian Holocaust film “The Counterfeiters.”

“Waltz” brings the Lebanon theme full circle, recalling director Ari Folman’s experiences during the First Lebanon War in 1982.

Although no Israeli film has ever won an Oscar, the odds are looking good for “Bashir”: It recently won the Golden Globe for best foreign language film, and was voted the best picture of 2008 by the National Society of Film Critics.

“Waltz With Bashir” deals with Folman’s experience during Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982, later known as the opening stage of the First Lebanon War. Most of the film is animated, with only a few minutes of live-action footage at the end.

The Oscars will be presented Feb. 22 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. —