Oscar Nods Go to Jewish Talent, but Israel Loses Again

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Filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski accepts the Best Foreign Language Film Award for 'Ida' onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre, California, February 22, 2015Credit: AFP

Jewish artists and themes featured among the winners at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood Sunday night, but an Israeli nominee once again failed to bring home the treasured trophy.

The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to “Ida,” a Polish film about a Catholic novitiate who learns that she is the daughter of Jewish parents, killed by the Nazis. Pawel Pawlikowski, the co-writer and director of the film, is himself half-Jewish, and his father’s mother was killed in Auschwitz.

However, Israel’s losing streak at the Oscars continued, as the Israeli short film “Aya,” co-written and co-directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun, and starring Sarah Adler, failed to win for Best Short Film.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which tied with “Birdman” for the most Oscars, at four apiece, has an oblique Jewish connection, as it was, according to co-writer/director Wes Anderson, inspired by the writings of the Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig.

In the individual categories, Mexican-Jewish cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accepted the Academy Award for “Birdman,” repeating his victory last year for “Gravity.”

Graham Moore also won Best Adapted Screenplay for penning the script for “The Imitation Game,” and he used his acceptance speech to make a plea for gay rights. His mother, Susan Sher, served as President Obama’s liaison to the Jewish community and as chief-of-staff for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Patricia Arquette, whose mother is Jewish (and the daughter of a Polish Holocaust survivor) and whose father is Muslim, won for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Boyhood.”

The evening’s “In Memoriam” segment, devoted to film industry notables who have passed away over the past year, included, among others, Israeli filmmaker Menachem Golan, director Mike Nichols, and legendary film actress Lauren Bacall. However, a number of writers and people on Twitter were outraged that long-time red carpet grandee Joan Rivers was not mentioned.

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