Oscars 2014: The Year the non-Jewish Minorities Reigned

It’s hard to recall a ceremony less dominated by members of the tribe than this year’s: No Billy Crystal, no big Spielberg film, no big Holocaust or World War-II themed flick.

So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Jews really do control the media, and specifically, run Hollywood.

If that was the case, then this year’s Academy Awards would be go down in history as the one when we decided to give all of the other oppressed minorities - African-Americans, Hispanics, AIDS victims - a turn at the glamour and the glory.

It’s hard to recall a ceremony less dominated by members of the tribe than this year’s. No Billy Crystal (and shouldn’t it be Jerry Seinfeld’s turn already?); No big Spielberg feature film, no big Holocaust or World War II themed movie (by Spielberg, Tarantino, or anyone else) no smash art-house project backed by mogul Harvey Weinstein (his contender Philomena got some nice nominations, but no wins.)

Not only did no big Jewish actor clean up, even the slew of super-goyish actors playing Jews missed out - most notably Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Christian Bale in “American Hustle.” And in the supporting category, we lost too - Jonah Hill and June Squibb (who I had no idea was Jewish until Haaretz told me so- after all … “Squibb”?) both ended the evening statueless. In fact, these two films with Jewish characters at the center - defied pre-Oscar expectations by being almost completely shut out. Which is fine with the tribe, because they featuredmorally corrupt scumbag Jews, not nobly victimized Jews. Hmmm, conspiracy theories, anyone?  

And when it comes to victims - let’s face it - the only thing that is more of a shoo-in for a best picture Oscar than a shocking and moving Holocaust drama is a gripping drama about slavery. Host Ellen DeGeneres (not Jewish, but lesbian) called it in her joke at the very opening of the ceremony, when she pondered the possible outcomes of the evening to her star-studded audience.

“Possibility number one: “12 Years a Slave” wins an Oscar. Possibility number two: You’re all racists.”

Not only did the film tell a slavery story, it was written and directed by African-American Steve McQueen - with Brad Pitt producing (though let us not forget the Mossad’s man in Hollywood, Arnon Milchan, also had a piece of the movie.)

And Milchan wasn’t alone. I mean, come on, folks, this is Hollywood. A Judenrein Oscars is pretty inconceivable.

So who were the Jews and/or Israelis who did win the gold? Before I could go hunting for all of them, I saw the Jerusalem Post went ahead and surveyed the landscape as I found out when I spotted their unabashedly ethnocentric tweet.

Jews honored at Academy Awards http://t.co/FQfmWYyyft

Indeed, as the Post pointed out, there were in fact, a few Jewish moments of victory when it came to the big prizes. The biggest was Spike Jonze winning best original screenplay for “Her” - and apparently the screenwriter was born Adam Spiegel (before he decided to give his name a much cooler rewrite.)

The second moment was when Cate Blanchett overcame the scandal-battered shadow of the director of her film “Blue Jasmine” and thanked Woody Allen in her acceptance speech for Best Actress.

And there was celebration in Tel Aviv - for once, a real Israeli Oscar winner was declared. While there were no Israeli film nominated for best Foreign Language category nor Holocaust features, Israel was represented in the winners circle with Niv Adiri, part of the sound team for “Gravity.” He told Haaretz, "I'm the happiest Israeli alive at the moment. It's been an amazing night. I feel very lucky and proud."

While there was no Israeli nominee in the Foreign Language category this year, there was Palestine. The Palestinian entry, “Omar,” lost, though not before its announcement got a nice round of applause from the crowd.

Proving the point that one can inject the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into anything was JPost reporter Gil Hoffman’s take:

#Oscars2014 scorecard: Israeli sound mixer Niv Adiri for Gravity: 1. Foreign language film from "Palestine" Omar: Zero. Take that, BDS.

Musically, the tribe was well-represented by Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" for the "In Memorium" tribute to those who passed on. (Midler also warranted a mention in The Forward’s 6 Jewish Things on the Oscars Red Carpet, which trashed her dress unwarrantedly. Bette, in my opinion, looked fabulous for a woman of her age, and it was noted whoever created her foundation garments deserves an Oscar.)

And, of course, it was a Jewess performing the song everyone was waiting for - Broadway star Idina Menzel belting out best song winner "Let It Go" from “Frozen.”

Menzel, however fell victim to the nightmare of anyone with a complicated ethnic name - a famous person screwing it up in front of  a billion people. Of course, it isn’t Menzel but actor John Travolta, who committed the error, who should be truly embarrassed. He didn’t just stumble over a syllable when introducing her, he completely blanked, mumbling something incomprehensible that sounded like “Adele Azeem.” Travolta lives in the worst era ever to make that kind of screw-up. It used to be that people would giggle about it at a cocktail party for a night or two. Today, thanks to the magic of social media, the mistake can be played and chuckled over again and again on Facebook, Twitter, and in an unending loop on Vine.

Lest you be concerned there could really be a year without aHolocaust film winning an award, be comforted by the fact that the short subject documentary“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life” did, in fact, win in its category. The victory was bittersweet since the subject of the film, Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer, passed awayon February 23. In their acceptance speech, one of the creators of the film, Malcolm Clarke, paid tribute to “her extraordinary capacity for joy and her amazing capacity for forgiveness … she was a woman who taught everyone on my crew to be a little bit more optimistic and a little bit more happy.”

Hopefully, those are words that the winners and losers of the evening took to heart, especially Leonardo DiCaprio, who looked especially glum and disappointedwhen he lost Best Actor for the fifth time - now he knows how he made Bar Refaeli feel…

Reuters
AFP