Waltz With Bashir (2008): Israel’s Entry for Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar

Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir has been submitted by Israel as its contender for the foreign-language Oscar. The film is also eligible for best animated feature, but not for documentary.

The feature uses hand-drawn animation to illustrate Folman’s interviews with participants of the 1980s Lebanese war, including the massacre of Palestinian civilians.

“Waltz With Bashir” was videotaped and sound-recorded first, then hand-drawn from start to finish; no rotoscoping was involved.

A Sony Pictures Classics release domestically, “Bashir” won best picture Tuesday at the Ophir Awards in Tel Aviv. Israel traditionally submits the Ophir winner as its Oscar entry, though last year’s winner, “The Band’s Visit,” was disqualified by the Acad because its dialogue was more than 50% in English.

“Waltz With Bashir” debuted in the Cannes competition and played Telluride and Toronto before the New York Film Festival.

The Academy has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Deadline for submission is October 1, 2008.

Completed entries for both foreign-language entries as well as live-action and animated shorts must be received by 5 p.m. PT at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences HQ in Beverly Hills.

Nominations will be announced January 22, 2009 and the 81st annual Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theater.