Israel out of Oscar race

Israel’s three-year streak of reaching the five finalists lists in the Oscar race for foreign-language films ended Wednesday (1/19), when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its shortlist of nine semi-finalists.

The Israeli film industry seemed tantalizingly close to its first Oscar win when its entries were picked among the final five in 2010 (“Ajami”), 2009 (“Waltz with Bashir”) and 2008 (“Beaufort”). However, this year’s Israeli contender, “The Human Resources Manager,” found few supporters among Academy and earlier Golden Globe voters.

The selection committee for foreign films seemed in a somber mood, shortlisting the following nine movies dealing mainly with wars, diseases and dysfunctional families.

Algeria: “Hors la Loi” (Outside the Law) – Three brothers fight French colonial rule.

Canada: “Incendies” (Scorched) – Greek tragedy set in Middle East turmoil.

Denmark: “In a Better World” – Two fathers deal with problem sons.

Greece: “Dogtooth” – Children deal with domineering father.

Japan: “Confessions” – School teacher gets even with student bullies.

Mexico: “Biutiful” – Worker faces family trouble and death.

South Africa: “Life, Above All” – Girl supports family beset by AIDS and alcoholism.

Spain: “Tambien la Lluvia” (Even the Rain) – Director films in strife-wracked Bolivia.

Sweden: “Simple Simon” – Man with Asperger’s syndrome helps depressed brother.

List of the five final nominees will be announced Jan. 25 and the winner will be crowned at the Feb. 27 award ceremonies.