Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun was named Spain's submission for the foreign language Oscar today, beating the other shortlisted films, Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her and Jose Luis Garci's Story Of A Kiss .
Mondays In The Sun, which stars Javier Bardem as an out-of-work dock labourer, took home the top Golden Shell award at September's San Sebastian International Film Festival.
The film, and Bardem's performance, earned rave reviews at the festival and upon its premiere in Spain. Bardem was nominated for the best actor Oscar in 2001 for his leading role in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls.
Still, Sun was widely perceived as the underdog considering such formidable competition. The best known internationally of the three nominated directors, Almodovar won the Oscar in 1999 with All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre). On Thursday, Talk To Her received five nominations to the European Film Awards.
Garci has been nominated six previous times out of Spain for the foreign language Oscar, winning the prize in 1982 for To Begin Again (Volver A Empezar).
Meanwhile, Broken Wings, a dysfunctional family coming-of-age drama, swept the Israeli Academy Awards night, picking up nine of the thirteen prizes distributed to fiction films, including best film, best direction (Nir Bergman), best actress (Orli Zilbershatz-Banai) and supporting actress (Maya Maron), also best screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design and sound.
The only other winners of the evening were Bethar Provence (best actor, supporting actor, music) and Kedma (best costumes). The best documentary went to Mike Brant - Laisse-moi T'aimer which evokes the tragic career of an Israeli singer who was, for a brief moment, a sensation on the French pop scene.
As the winner of the Academy Award is automatically selected to represent the country in the foreign Oscar race, Broken Wings is now on its way to Hollywood, where a number of American distributors have already indicated their interest after the film grabbed top honours at the recent Tokyo Film Festival.
Additional reporting by Edna Fainaru