The Tribe at the Oscars
The big megillah, the Academy Awards, will be broadcast at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28 on ABC. Here are the Jewish nominees in all but the technical categories.
Best picture (this Oscar goes to the film’s principal producers, up to three per film): “The Big Short,” Jeremy Kleiner, 39; “Bridge of Spies,” Steven Spielberg, 69, and Marc Platt, 58; “The Martian,” Simon Kinberg, 42; “The Revenant,” Arnon Milchan, 71, and Steve Golin, 52; and “Spotlight,” Michael Sugar, 51, Nicole Rocklin, 36, and Golin. Supporting actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, 54, “The Hateful Eight.” Director: Lenny Abrahamson, 49, “Room.” Original screenplay: “Bridge of Spies,” Joel Coen, 61, and Ethan Coen, 58 (and Martin Charman); “Spotlight,” Josh Singer, 43 (and Tom McCarthy); and “Straight Outta Compton,” Jonathan Herman, 55, and Andrea Beloff, 34. Animated film: “Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, 57 (and Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran). Foreign language film: “Son of Saul” (Hungary), László Nemes, 38. Documentary (feature): “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer, 41; “What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, 45; and “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman, 51, and Tom Yellin, 63. Documentary (short): “Last Day of Freedom,” Nomi Talisman, 48 (and Dee Hibbert Jones). J. profiled Talisman last month (www.tinyurl.com/jweekly-last-day). Original song: “Simple Song #3” from “Youth,” music and lyric by David Lang, 59; and “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground,” music and lyrics by Diane Warren, 59 (and Lady Gaga). Cinematography: Ed Lachman, 77, “Carol”; and Emmanuel Lubezki, 51, “The Revenant.”
Marc Platt (“Bridge of Spies”) is the father of actor Ben Platt, 22, a star of the “Pitch Perfect” movies. Jennifer Jason Leigh is still friends with actress Phoebe Cates, 52. Both had breakthrough roles in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982). Cates came out of virtual retirement to co-star in “The Anniversary Party” (2001), which Leigh co-directed and co-wrote.
Jonathan Herman’s nomination for co-writing “Straight Outta Compton” has garnered controversy, as no black actors from this film about African American hip-hop musicians — or any other 2015 film — received Oscar nominations. Herman explains that everyone thought the existing “Compton” script was a mess and he simply did what he was asked to do: fix it.
Academy Award background
Two documentary films about famous Jews are Oscar-nominated: “Amy” and “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah.” (The filmmakers are not Jewish.) “Amy” is about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. Lanzmann, 90, is the French documentary maker who made the epic Holocaust film “Shoah.” It was the film that inspired “Son of Saul,” according to director Nemes, who told the Times of Israel: “I made this film to talk about this lost [Jewish] civilization and this lost world, and also because I’m angry that this happened, and Europe never really understood that.”
More on the Oscars
Nemes is a Hungarian Jew who lives in France, Lenny Abrahamson is an Irish Jew, Aaron Milchan is Israeli, Emmanuel Lubezki is a Mexican Jew who lives in the States, and Talisman is an Israeli who lives in San Francisco. My favorite Abrahamson quote, from a 2014 interview in the Forward: “I am an unusual Irishman. I’m probably Ireland’s third most famous Jewish son. First is Chaim Herzog [the late president of Israel], who grew up on the same street and played with my mother. Then there’s Leopold Bloom from ‘Ulysses,’ and me. The [Irish] Jewish community is only about 1,500 to 2,000 people.”