Hollywood’s biggest night tackled its controversial lack of African American nominees head on with a monologue from Chris Rock that brought the house down at the Kodak Theater and had Twitter buzzing all night long.
And with Jewish presenters and winners bringing the laughter, and the tears, there were plenty of memorable Jewish moments to talk about.
1) I Love You in Hebrew!
Accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Big Short,” Charles Randolph thanked his wife in Hebrew with a sweet “Ani ohev otach, Mili” (I love you, Mili). His wife, actress Mili Avital, starred in “Chatufim,” the Israeli show “Homeland” is based on.
2) Sarah Silverman’s Yiddish:
Funny girl Sarah Silverman really let ex-lover James Bond have it for all the “meshugas” and never calling her back. She also gave the censors a run for their money.
3) Jack Black History Month:
With Rock’s jab after jab at #OscarsSoWhite, Angela Bassett paid homage to, who else? Jack Black in honor of Black History Month.
Angela Bassett recognizes a legendary actor in this Black History Month Minute presented by @SamsungMobileUS #Oscarshttps://t.co/CKzKJJKIUv— ABC Network (@ABCNetwork) February 29, 2016
4) Amy Gets the Gold:
After a marathon of wins, the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” took home the Oscar for Best Documentary.
5) “Son of Saul” Wins Through Wagner:
The Hungarian Holocaust film “Son of Saul” took home the award for Best Foreign Feature.
As director Laszlo Nemes walked off the stage after his acceptance speech, the Oscars orchestra began playing Wagner before swiftly switching to the “Indiana Jones” theme music. But Twitter noticed, and no one was amused.
Hey Oscars! If you don’t want to be called racist, maybe you shouldn’t play the winners off to the music of Wagner.— Matt Weinhold (@MattWeinhold) February 29, 2016
Did anyone else notice that #Oscars thot it a wee bit inapprop to play Wagner for wrapitup music-for a Holocaust film-and quickly switched?— Lauren Zalaznick (@LZSundayPaper) February 29, 2016
They do know that Wagner was banned in Israel for like 5 decades right? #Oscars— Henrik Vriesma (@BrilliantOranje) February 29, 2016
6) Emmanuel Lubezki Wins Again:
Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won his third consecutive Oscar for “The Revenant.” He has also won for “Gravity” and “Birdman.”
7) Ali G Makes a Comeback
#Oscars: Sasha Baron Cohen brings back Ali G https://t.co/w17gOn15yf https://t.co/YeuPtmibHa— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 29, 2016
Nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this morning and the road to the February 28 telecast of the Oscars has officially begun.
While this year’s favorites, “The Revenant” and “The Martian,” lead the pack with 12 and 9 nominations, respectively, but there were several nominations for Jewish films and documentaries.
Already a winner at the Golden Globes, Hungarian Holocaust film “Son of Saul” was nominated for best foreign language film, “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” was nominated for best documentary short and the controversial posthumous documentary “Amy” of late Jewish singer Amy Winehouse was nominated for best documentary feature.
Mitch Winehouse, Winehouse’s father, distanced himself from the documentary, calling it “very hurtful” that the documentary focused on his daughter’s drug addiction. “There are so many great things in Amy’s life that were missed in that film. It was a great opportunity that [director] Asif Kapadia had and he didn’t grab it,” he said. “Everyone had heard that rubbish. Let’s hear something new about Amy, and this is what this is about - creativity and positivity.”
Matt Charman, Joel and Ethan Coen were also nominated for best original screenplay for “Bridge of Spies.” With the Steven Spielberg production also earning a nod for the coveted best picture prize.
“The Revenent,” which is produced by Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan, is a fan favorite to win, and if it does, it will be Milchan’s third Best Picture win in a row.
All in all, it was a decent night for the Tribe at the 87th Academy Awards.
Among the high notes:
IDINA’S REVENGE: Last year, John Travolta botched the name of Idina Menzel our second-favorite Jewish diva (after Barbra). This year Adele Dazeem got her revenge as the two collaborated to present best song to Glory. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage my very dear friend, Glom Gazingo,” Menzel said in what was the funniest bit of the night.
TRIUMPH OF ‘IDA’: The black-and-white drama, a story about what happens when a woman about to take her vows as a Catholic nun finds out she’s really an Old Testament gal, won best foreign-language flick. And director Pawel Pawlikowski took home the informal category of best acceptance speech as he refused to be rushed off the stage by Oscar’s orchestra. He talked over them with a hilarious bit of extra thank-you’s, shutting the exit guides down.
SCARLETT’S TWO-FER: The talented Jewish beauty introduced the event that saved the night: Gaga singing The Sound of Music. And then there was the “if-looks-could-kill” moment earlier on the red carpet, where she all but rolled her eyes when Travolta snuck up behind her and stole a kiss.
If you watched the Oscar last night, you, like me, might be all “thank you”-ed out. It’s all about the “members of the academy,” God and mom and dad. Last night, a film-maker even thanked his dog.
But who ranks No. 1 in the Oscar gratitude-meter? No, it’s not HaShem, but rather, a small, bearded Jewish man, responsible for’ Jaws’ and ‘Schindler’s List’.
Yes, with more than twice as many thank you’s than God almighty, Steven Spielberg was thanked 42 times at the Oscar’s podium. Followed not so closely by another powerful Hollywood Jew, Harvey Weinstein.
God was way behind at 20, edging out Martin Scorsese with 15 and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Here’s the top 10 list:
I was a little harsh on Lady Gaga when, half-joking, I accused her and Tony Bennett of mugging our dear Jewish diva Barbra Streisand at the Grammys.
Today, I am singing Gaga’s praises for turning around what had become the Debbie Downer Academy Awards with an exuberant “Sound of Music” montage celebrating the 50th anniversary of that most Jewish of Hollywood musicals.
Until that magic moment, I almost forgot the reason many Americans tune in to award shows: to be entertained. In the spirit of Jewish funny lady Rachel Dratch’s most-famous SNL character, I was pretty sure I was sitting through a four-hour political polemic.
Host Neil Patrick Harris got the ball rolling with an unfunny and unfortunate quip about the whiteness of the show’s list of nominees – a huge controversy this year.
“Whiplash” star J.K. Simmons just made me feel sad when he used Best Supporting Actor Oscar speech to tell me what I don’t need more guilt for not doing “Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them …. Tell them you love them and thank them.”
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