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The 81st Academy Awards ceremony will be held Sunday night, and the makers of Israel's much-lauded Best Foreign Language Film nominee, "Waltz with Bashir," are already in Los Angeles, hoping.

"Waltz With Bashir," an animated documentary created by director Ari Folman, addresses its creators' haunting memories from the first Lebanon War, in particular regarding the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre. It is competing against the German "Bader-Meinhoff Gang," the Austrian "Revanche" and the Japanese "Departures."

Having already secured a string of prestigious awards - including the Golden Globes - the film has high expectations from film critics and online gambling sites alike. It is the eighth Israeli nominee, and the second one about Israeli soldiers in Lebanon; "Beaufort," by Joseph Cedar, was nominated last year.

Folman will be joined at the Kodak Theatre by his wife, art director David Polonsky, animation director Yoni Goodman and co-producer Yael Nahlieli. The group spent the weekend at events including a symposium with fellow nominees hosted by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a celebratory dinner organized by Sony Classic, the American distributor of the film.

"We are mostly doing what we're told, going to all the events that we're invited to and using the opportunity to imbibe lots of champagne, as tradition goes," said Nahlieli Saturday. "You won't get a quote on how likely we are to win, but as our resident optimist Yoni Goodman says, even if we lose, we'll be sad a day and then move on. In the meanwhile, we are living in the moment and enjoying the tremendous atmosphere," she said.