A scene from Samuel Maoz's "Foxtrot." Giora Bejach/Lev Cinema and Spiro Films

Israel's 'Foxtrot' Gets Shortlisted for Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film

The film, which focuses on the Israeli military among other themes, sparked political controversy in Israel despite the fact that it has been hailed worldwide

Israeli film "Foxtrot," directed by Shmulik Maoz, has not been nominated for a Golden Globe, but still stands a chance at snagging an Oscar after it was shortlisted for an Academy Award in the best foreign language film category.

The list was released in the U.S. on Thursday, and includes nine out of 92 films that have been filed to the American Film Academy. The final five nominees will be announced on January 23, and the awards ceremony itself will take place on March 4.

The film "Foxtrot" was elected to represent Israel at the Academy Awards after it won last year's Ophir Award, the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars.

The most promising nominee on the list is "The Square" by Swedish director Ruben Ostland. The film was awarded the Palme D'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, the European Academy for Film award and is also nominated for a Golden Globe.

Also gracing the list alongside Foxtrot are the Lebanese film "The Insult," the Hungarian "On Body and Soul," Chile's "A Fantastic Woman," Russian film "Loveless," South Africa's "The Wound," Germany's "In the Fade" and Senegal's "Felicite."

Foxtrot, starring actors Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler, focuses on the life of a family: two parents and their daughter, who all reside in Tel Aviv, while their son- who is a soldier- serves far away from them. In September, the film won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, an award granted by members of the jury.

Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who has spoken out against the film in the past, said in response to its win at the Venice Film Festival that it is "outrageous that Israeli creators contribute to the incitement of the young generation against the most moral army in the world while tossing around lies under the guise of artistic creation."

Even prior to that, Regev sparked up a firestorm when she claimed that the film hurt the Israeli military's reputation without having watched it. She also said that she would not have approved the budgeting of the film had she known that it might hurt the IDF's image in the world. 

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