Israeli film, actress grab top honors from National Board of Review

Collection of film enthusiasts and academics known for predicting future Oscar winners crown Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot and Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot

Foxtrot director Samuel Maoz (L) and Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot. (AFP/ Tiziana FABI and Zack Snyder/Warner Bros)
Foxtrot director Samuel Maoz (L) and Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot. (AFP/ Tiziana FABI and Zack Snyder/Warner Bros)

The Israeli motion picture Foxtrot was named Best Foreign Language Film by the National Board of Review, which also handed its Spotlight Award to Israeli actress Gal Gadot for her performance in Wonder Woman.

The group announced its picks Tuesday on Twitter.

The National Board of Review, a collection of film enthusiasts and academics founded in 1909, is known for selecting the same films and actors that eventually go on to win Oscars.

Foxtrot won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival. It also received eight Ophir awards and will be Israel’s Foreign Language submission to the 2018 Academy Awards.

The film has been widely acclaimed, but it has also provoked controversy and debate about contemporary Israeli reality.

“Foxtrot” opens with an affluent Tel Aviv couple (Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler) being informed their soldier son has died in the line of duty.

The parents are floored by grief, and the film has more shocks in store for them as it explores the way trauma scars individuals and societies, and ripples across generations.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev on September 27, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

Culture Minister Miri Regev has been one of it’s biggest critics over its portrayal of the Israeli army.

“It’s outrageous that Israeli artists contribute to the incitement of the young generation against the most moral army in the world by spreading lies in the guise of art,” Regev said.

The Likud minister accused the film of giving “a tailwind to BDS [the Israeli boycott movement] and haters of Israel all around the world,” while calling for the state to end funding to films that “become a weapon of propaganda for our enemies.”

Regev, who formerly served as the IDF spokesperson, later specifically singled out a scene in the film that showed Israeli soldiers killing and burying an Arab family.

For Gadot, Wednesday’s Spotlight Award added to her long list of accolades following her performance in Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot attends the ‘Justice League’ photocall at The College on November 4, 2017, in London, England. (David M. Benett/ Dave Benett/WireImage via JTA)

Gadot, who has proudly embraced her Israeli heritage, has become an international celebrity and a source of pride for Israelis since the release of the box office hit earlier this year.

In recognition of her success, GQ Magazine named Gadot as its woman of the year and she will appear on the cover of its upcoming issue.

Also earning recognition from the National Board of Review was Steven Spielberg’s newspaper drama “The Post,” which was named the year’s best film.

Top acting honors went to the film’s stars, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

AP contributed to this report.

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