Gay Drama ‘The Cakemaker’ Just Won the Israeli Version of an Oscar
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The Cakemaker, a film about a gay baker who comes to Jerusalem after his Israeli lover dies, won Best Picture at Israel‘s Ophir Awards, the country’s version of the Academy Awards.
Directed by Ofir Raul Graizer, Cakemaker was nominated for nine Ophirs in all and won six, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actress (for Sarah Adler). A U.S. remake is reportedly in the works.
In the film, young German baker Thomas who falls in love with Oren, a married Israeli man visiting Berlin. After Oren dies in a car accident, Thomas travels to Jerusalem and insinuates himself into the life of Oren’s widow, Anat. The Cakemaker premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic last year, winning the Ecumenical Jury prize.
As Best Picture winner, the film automatically becomes Israel’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, and insiders believe it has a good shot of getting a nomination. In the past decade, four Israeli films have scored Best Foreign Language Film nominations, most recently Joseph Cedar’s Footnote in 2012.
The Cakemaker beat out another queer film for the top honor: Written and directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon, Flawless chronicles three high-schoolers who sell their kidneys to buy breast implants before prom. Eden (trans actress Stav Strashko) is new in school and her classmates don’t know she’s transgender.
Her single-parent dad is supportive of her taking hormones, but won’t pay for gender-confirmation surgery because he thinks she might be just going through a phase. So Eden joins new gal pals Keshet and Mika in their plan to connect with Keren (Assi Levi), an organ trafficker they found online. Suffice to say, things do not go well.
Flawless , which is only now being released in Israel, received 12 Ophir nominations in all, including Best Picture; Best Director; Best Screenplay; Best Actress (for Strashko) and Best Supporting Actress (for Assi Levy). It took home just three in technical categories.
Another nominated film, Marco Carmel’s Noble Savage, is an adaptation of a novel about a teenage boy ( Neveh Tzur) with an eating disorder who is at odds with his parents. Tzur won Best Actor, while Shira Haas won Best Supporting Actress for her role as his oversexed mom.