I told you a couple weeks ago about how The Band's Visit, Israel's candidate for this year's foreign-language Oscar, was under scrutiny for perhaps having too much English in it and thus being ineligible for the category. The Academy rules indicate a film must be "predominantly" in a foreign language, and they take that to mean at least 50 percent. And sure enough, the Academy has apparently ruled that more than 50 percent of the film's dialogue is in English, making it a no-go.

Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells is the first English-language writer to report it, citing two Hebrew sources, including the Israeli news agency Haaertz. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is expected to release the list of eligible submissions in the next couple days, but evidently Israel has been informed of this decision already.

The Band's Visit, an upbeat, feel-good comedy about bridging the cultural gap between nations, has been almost universally acclaimed at the film festivals at which it's played, and it was the big winner at Israel's Ophir Awards (their equivalent of the Oscars). Sony Pictures Classics, which will release the film stateside next year, paid more for it than any previous Israeli film had sold for. But ever since then, the movie can't seem to catch a break. First the Cairo International Film Festival snottily rejected it simply for being an Israeli production (real mature, Egypt), and now this.

If the Academy's decision is final (and it usually is), Israel plans to put up Beaufort as its replacement entry. It's no Band's Visit, but it was the runner-up at the Ophirs, and it's been very popular at the Israeli box office.
categories Oscars, Cinematical