The anticipation is building as the Israeli Academy of Film and Television unveils the nominees for this year’s Ophir Awards, which are set to be presented in a grand ceremony on September 10. As the film industry eagerly awaits the event, the list of nominees is causing quite a stir, with its customary blend of surprises and snubs.
One intriguing aspect of the Ophir Awards is the quirk in the nomination process, allowing movies that are yet to be released to secure nominations.
This anomaly introduces a temporal layer to the awards, often leading to a delay of months or even years before the nominated films grace the theaters. Conversely, recent releases occasionally miss out on the list of eligible contenders, a phenomenon evident in the absence of Amit Ulman’s enchanting musical masterpiece, “The City,” from this year’s nominees.
The selection of five films that have earned nominations is a testament to the diverse themes and creative narratives emanating from the Israeli film landscape.
Benny Fredman’s “Home” embarks on a journey with a young ultra-Orthodox man who opens a computer store in a haredi neighborhood, facing threats from those who strive to insulate the community from technology’s influence.
Meanwhile, Dani Rosenberg’s “The Vanishing Soldier” follows a soldier’s enigmatic escape from a Gaza battleground to Tel Aviv, leaving his superiors baffled about his fate. Maayan Rypp’s “The Other Widow” brings the spotlight to a grieving costume designer navigating complex emotions following the sudden death of her married playwright lover.
In “Running on Sand” by Adar Shafran, the focus shifts to the plight of an Eritrean refugee on the brink of deportation from Israel. A fateful escape unfolds, leading him to an unexpected identity swap, as he inadvertently becomes the newest addition to a struggling soccer team.
Ayelet Menahemi’s “Seven Blessings” weaves a poignant tale of a Moroccan bride-to-be, adopted by her infertile aunt during her childhood, whose return to Israel unveils hidden family truths. Notably, the film’s star, Reymonde Amsallem, also contributed to its creation by co-writing the script.
Despite the impressive selection of nominees, a few remarkable films failed to secure a spot in the Best Picture category this year. Avi Nesher’s “The Monkey House,” Matan Yair’s “A Room of His Own,” and Ofir Raul Graizer’s “America” may have missed the top spot, yet they continue to shine in other categories. Both Nesher and Yair find themselves nominated for Best Director, with Yair also earning recognition for Best Screenplay.
The competition for Best Actor is fierce, featuring a diverse range of exceptional performances. Sasson Gabay’s portrayal of a father navigating his troubled daughter’s life in Paris in “My Daughter My Love” earned him a spot on the list. Dror Keren’s gripping performance in “Tor Preida” sees him as a columnist who faces threats against his autistic son while his daughter protests against the prime minister.