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Israel Nears Third Straight Oscar Nomination

‘Ajami’ is country’s first Arabic-language submission

Marc Tracy
January 21, 2010

Ajami is one of nine 2009 movies to make the long-list for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Should it be one of the five formally nominated on February 2nd, this will be the ninth year an Israeli film was up for the award, and the third consecutive year (none have won). But Ajami is the first Israeli submission that is in Arabic.

The film, co-directed and –written by an Israeli and a Palestinian, was submitted after winning Israel’s Ophir Award for best picture. It is set in Ajami, the largest Arab neighborhood in Jaffa, and begins with a 13-year-old Arab boy witnessing a revenge murder.

The Israeli nominee in 2007 was Beaufort, and in 2008 it was Waltz With Bashir. Senior Writer Allison Hoffman wrote about both last October. And Sara Ivry interviewed Bashir director Ari Folman for the Vox Tablet podcast.

Nine Foreign Language Films Advance in Oscar Race [Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences]

Related: War Movies [Tablet Magazine]
Soldier’s Story [Tablet Magazine]
Sources of Hope, Amid A Divide [NYT]

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.