November 17, 2018

Oscar gives nod to Jewish talent but bypasses Israel

Given that there were few world famous Jewish names among nominees for the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood Sunday night, the tribe did fairly well.

“The Great Budapest Hotel” tied with “Birdman” for the most Oscars, with four each, though the latter walked off with the best picture Oscar.

“Budapest Hotel” was inspired by the writings of Austrian-Jewish ” target=”_blank”>intense Polish entry focused on a young novitiate about to take her vows as a nun, when she discovers that she is the daughter of Jewish parents killed by the Nazis. Much of the film is devoted to retracing her origins.

The film’s director, Pawel Pawlikowski, whose paternal grandmother was Jewish and was killed in Auschwitz, was asked during a backstage interview whether he considers the Holocaust and the fate of the Jewish people as one aspect of post World War II Poland.

Pawlikowski, in his response, tried to shift the emphasis.

“Of course, Polish-Jewish relations are difficult,” he said. “And the two lead characters, Ida and [her aunt] Wanda, who are Jewish, but for me they are Polish. I don’t like people who attack the film from various sides and say ‘Oh, it’s about Jews and Poles and stuff,’

“For me, [the film] is about different versions of Polishness, but it wasn’t about that. The film is about all sort of things, it’s about faith, identity, sense of guilt, it’s about Stalinism, too, and about ideals — lost ideals.”

Israel’s streak of being a frequent (nominated) bridesmaid but never an (Oscar-winning) bride continued with “Aya”, starring Israeli actress Sara Adler, which had made the finalists list for short films.

There was some consolation in the list of Jewish winners, including:

Patricia Arquette, daughter of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father, who hoisted the Oscar statuette for best supporting actress in the film “Boyhood.”