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Paradise Now is Palestinian

While the Motion Picture Academy has been fielding complaints from all sides about what country the Palestinian best foreign film Paradise Now actually comes from, according to Oscar spokesman John Pavlik, no foreign government, including Israel, has pressured the Academy about Paradise Now. The Academy's Oscar nominations press release described the film as from Palestine, as does the official Oscar website, while the Oscar fact sheet cites the Palestinian Authority. "We may call it something else at the Oscar ceremony," said Pavlik. "We're leaning toward the Wire Service use of 'Palestianian Territories.' Maybe we'll dream up a fourth thing. It's a big deal to various places."

One argument holds that Palestine is not a country, although it is recognized by the U.N. Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad, ironically, who considers himself Palestinian, was born in Nazareth, which is in Israeli territory. This makes him an Arab Israeli. He carries a dual Dutch/Israeli passport. A stealth PR campaign against Paradise Now could hurt the film's chances at winning an Oscar. (Miramax Films' moving South African film Tsotsi is considered the front-runner.) "Some people have a very large issue with 'the enemy' being depicted in a way that humanizes him," said one veteran Oscar campaigner.

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