The 90th Oscars ceremony will be broadcast at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 4, with Jimmy Kimmel as host. The following is a list of known Jewish Oscar nominees (not including the technical categories). The number is smaller than some years but still substantial.
Best leading actor: Timothée Chalamet, 24, “Call Me by Your Name.” He competes in this category with Daniel Day-Lewis, who starred in “Phantom Thread.” Chalamet is the breakout actor of 2017. Besides starring in “Call Me,” a best picture nominee, he had a supporting role in “Lady Bird,” another best picture nominee. He grew up in New York City, the son of an American Jewish mother and a French Protestant father. He’s referred to himself as Jewish. In “Call Me,” he plays a Jewish American 17-year-old living in Italy who has a brief same-sex affair with a slightly older visiting Jewish American graduate student.
Day-Lewis, 60, is the only person to have won three best actor Oscars. His father, the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, was of Irish Protestant background, while his mother, the late actress Jill Balcon, was Jewish. Jill’s father, Michael, was a founder of the British film industry. Daniel has always been secular. He says “Phantom Thread,” in which he plays a fashion designer, will be his last film. (No Jewish actresses were nominated this year and no Jewish actor got a supporting actor nomination.)
A number of Jewish writers are nominated for best adapted screenplay. “The Disaster Artist,” a comedy about a terrible real movie, was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, both 40. They have been a writing team since 1999 and have similar backgrounds — Neustadter grew up on Long Island and Weber in Atlantic City. Both had a bar mitzvah and like to schmooze about Jews in the movies. Their breakout film was “(500) Days of Summer” (2009), a clever romantic comedy-drama. Also in this category is “Logan,” co-written by Scott Frank, 57, Michael Green, 45, and James Mangold. “Logan” is the first comic-book based movie to get a best screenplay Oscar nomination. Frank grew up in Los Gatos. His credits include writing the Oscar-nominated “Out of Sight” (1998) and writing and directing “Godless,” a recent Netflix series. Green, 44, grew up in a New York City suburb where his religious, Israeli-born mother insisted he attend a yeshiva. He became more secular as he grew older. He is a Stanford University alumnus. Also: Aaron Sorkin, 56, for “Molly’s Game,” a film based on a memoir by Molly Bloom (whose father is Jewish) about running high-stakes poker games. Sorkin became famous with his 1989 play “A Few Good Men,” which was turned into a hit movie in 1992.
Marin County resident Lee Unkrich, 50, was the co-director and co-producer of “Coco,” nominated for best feature-length animated movie. He directed “Toy Story 3,” which won the Oscar in 2011. Frank Stiefel, 60ish, is nominated for best documentary short (“Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405”). It’s about Mindy Alper, 58, a talented artist who has battled mental health problems. Stiefel made a short movie, “Ingelore” (2009), about how his mother, a deaf teen, escaped Nazi Germany.
Bryan Fogel, 40ish, wrote and co-starred in “Icarus,” a best feature-length documentary nominee. Fogel, a serious bicyclist, blew the lid off Russian athlete doping in his film. Before “Icarus,” he was known for “Jewtopia,” a comedic play and film. His parents, who belong to a Denver Orthodox synagogue, will accompany him to the Oscars.
Diane Warren, 61, is nominated for best song, “Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall.” This is her ninth best song nomination. She competes with Benj Pasek, 32, and Justin Paul, who wrote “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” Hans Zimmer, 60, is nominated for best musical score for “Dunkirk.” He’s been Oscar-nominated 11 times, winning in 1995 (“The Lion King”).
The best picture nomination goes to the film’s producers. Of the nine movies nominated, the following have confirmed Jewish producers: “Call Me by Your Name” (Peter Spears, 50); “Darkest Hour” (Eric Fellner, 58); “The Post” (Amy Paschal, 59, and Steven Spielberg, 71 — Spielberg directed “The Post” but wasn’t nominated for best director this year); and “Lady Bird” (Scott Rudin, 59). The film’s director-writer, Greta Gerwig, recently told NPR she wanted to use excerpts of a Stephen Sondheim musical in her film. Fortunately, she said, Rudin is friends with Sondheim, 87, and Sondheim gave her permission.