Israeli Oscars

‘7 Blessings’ toasted with 12 Ophir Award nominations, including Best Picture

‘The Vanishing Soldier, ‘ ‘The Other Widow,’ ‘Running on Sand,’ and ‘Home’ also looking to represent Israel at Oscars; Dana Ivgy up for 4th Best Actress prize

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

From the Ophir-nominated feature film '7 Blessings,' up for Best Feature at the September 10, 2023 Ophir Award ceremony (Courtesy PR)
From the Ophir-nominated feature film '7 Blessings,' up for Best Feature at the September 10, 2023 Ophir Award ceremony (Courtesy PR)

Feature film “7 Blessings,” about a close-knit Moroccan family with its share of secrets in Jerusalem in the early 1990s, snagged a dozen Ophir Award nominations Sunday night, leading the pack of Israeli movies vying a shot at Oscar’s glory.

Following close behind with 11 nominations was “The Vanishing Soldier,” about a soldier who goes AWOL to be with his girlfriend in Tel Aviv but discovers the army thinks he was kidnapped during battle. Both films are vying for the coveted Best Picture award.

Avi Nesher’s “The Monkey House,” about a formerly successful novelist who tries to revive his career with an inventive scam, was also nominated 11 times, though not for the top prize.

The Ophirs, awarded by the Israel Film and Television Academy, are seen as the Israeli version of the Academy Awards. The winner of the best feature film category, set to be announced at a red-carpet ceremony September 10, will become Israel’s submission to the Oscars for its foreign language prize.

Vying for Best Picture alongside “7 Blessings” and “The Vanishing Soldier” is “Running On Sand,” a comedy-drama about an African refugee to Israel who finds himself playing for a struggling local football team run by a patriarch owner and his charmingly unconventional daughter.

Rounding out the nominees is “Home,” a true story about a young Haredi man’s struggles to open a computer store in his neighborhood and “The Other Widow,” about a mistress attending a shiva, or Jewish mourning ritual, after her lover’s passing, while keeping her identity under wraps.

Dana Ivgy, who plays the mistress, is up for her fourth Best Actress statuette but will need to twice beat out Reymond Amsalem, who is nominated in the category for roles in both “Seven Blessings” and “The Future.”

Actor Sasson Gabbay, 75, has a shot at becoming the most awarded actor in Israeli history if he wins Best Actor for his performance in “My Daughter My Love,” his fifth nomination in the category.

Other standouts this year include Shani Cohen, receiving her first feature film nomination for Best Supporting Actress in “The Monkey House.”

There’s also a selection of music documentary films this year, including “Poliker — The Child Within Me” about musician Yehuda Poliker and “If You Let Me Go,” about HaMachshefot lead singer Inbal Perlmutter, who was killed in a car crash at 26.

More than 1,000 Israel Film and Television Academy members are asked to select the winners in each of the 18 categories.

Most Popular
read more: