The Israeli film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche has made the shortlist for an Academy Award nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category. The shortlists for Oscars in nine categories were released by the Academy on Monday night, December 16. The 92nd Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 13 and the awards will be presented at a ceremony on February 9.
Advocate a portrait of Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel who has defended Palestinians for more than 50 years, generated controversy in Israel after it won the Docaviv competition in the spring of this year. Mifal Hapayis, the national lottery that funds a cash prize for Docaviv, folded to political pressure from the government and other right-wing forces and announced that it would no longer fund the prize and investigated legal ways to rescind the award to the makers of Advocate. In November, the mayor of Ma’alot Tarshiha refused to allow the film to be screened at a municipal auditorium during the Docaviv Galilee festival, although another venue was found for the screening.
Movies from all over the world compete in the documentary category — 159 were submitted this year — but countries do not put forward an official entry, as is the case for the Best International Feature category, formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film. Incitement by Yaron Zilberman, a drama about about PM Yitzhak Rabin’s far-right assassin, Yigal Amir, did not make the shortlist of 10 films.