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Just 24 hours before the annual Oscar awards ceremony begins, gambling Web sites predict Israeli contender for best foreign film 'Waltz with Bashir' is the leading candidate to walk away with the prestigious prize.

Aside from main gambling sites, critics have also indicated Ari Folman's animated feature is their choice for the award. Among the critics is the New York Times' David Carr who has urged readers to 'Put a nickel on ?Bashir? and keep it there', citing the film as breaking new cinematic ground and amazing viewers.

The animated film deals with filmmaker Ari Folman's search to piece together his memories as a combat soldier during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and in particular, where he was during the massacre at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp in Beirut.

The critically acclaimed film has already won several awards including the Golden Globe award, the Writers Guild of America's award for best documentary and was named the best film of the year by the National Society of Film Critics.