For the fourth time in five years, an Israeli movie failed to take home the award for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
The Israeli entry, "Footnote", faced stiff competition from the Iranian film "A Separation." In fact, it came as little surprise that the Iranian film won the award after being so heavily lavished with critics' praise.
"Footnote", which tells the story of a father and son competing for the coveted Israel Prize, was also critically acclaimed, having won the award for best screenplay at the recent Cannes Film Festival.
But the overall experience certainly was not a loss. It did not escape the largely Western audience that the Israeli and Iranian directors did not shy away from sitting together on a panel discussion a day before the awards ceremony.
While Israeli Joseph Cedar and Iranian Asghar Farhadi did not speak directly to one another during the event, they did laugh at one another's jokes and there was no atmosphere of tension.
Of course, the Iranian regime was quick to declare Farhadi's taking the award as a "victory over the Zionists." Iran's gloating over winning an Oscar was a bit odd, considering that the regime in Tehran views Hollywood and the American movie industry as a den of evil.
Meanwhile in Israel, "A Separation" was entertaining packed-out movie theaters as Israelis rushed to enjoy the Iranian film that had bested their own Oscar entry.
Writing in Israel's leading entertainment magazine, Pnai Plus, film critic Yair Raveh said of "A Separation":
"It's very well acted, exceptionally well written and very moving. Ultimately, you don't think about nuclear bombs or dictators threatening world peace. You see them (Iranians) driving cars and going to the movies and they look exactly like us."
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