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The Schmooze

Here Are All Of Sunday’s Jewish Oscar Nominees

Happy Oscars-Shabbat!

Hold on to your hats — here are all the Jewish people and Jew-ish movies that will be competing for Academy Awards in major categories this Sunday.


“Black Panther” The nod for the cutting-edge Marvel movie is a huge moment for Black representation, and a credit to our non-Jewish friend, director Ryan Coogler. We also tip our kippot to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the Jewish immigrant and child of immigrants, respectively, upon whose original comic “Black Panther” is based.

“BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” was co-written by David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel, along with Lee and Kevin Willmott. It follows a black detective who collaborates with a white, Jewish officer to infiltrate their local KKK chapter, gently raising American Jewish pride by about 5,000 percent.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” The Disney-fied Freddie Mercury biopic was initially directed by Bryan Singer, who was replaced by Dexter Fletcher at the tail end of the filming after a chaotic controversy over Singer’s behavior on set. Either way, not much to rhapsodize over, here — Singer has been accused of sexual assault against minors several times.

“A Star Is Born” This most recent iteration of “A Star Is Born,” dominated by the man, the myth, the beard-holder Bradley Cooper, has a screenplay co-written by Jewish writer Eric Roth. But the Jewish lineage of the “Star Is Born” stories is longer than all the Torah genealogies combined.

For your reference, these lovely (but less Jewish) movies were also nominated for Best Picture: “The Favourite”; “Green Book”; “Roma”; “Vice”;



The ostentatiously likable Jewish actress Rachel Weisz was nominated for her role in “The Favourite,” alongside Amy Adams in “Vice”, Marina de Tavira in “Roma”, Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk”, and Emma Stone in “The Favourite.”


None of ours, this time, folks! Here are the nominees for your edification. And no, Adam Driver is not Jewish.

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” Adam Driver, “BlackKKlansman” Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born” Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me” Sam Rockwell, “Vice”


“Cold War,” a Polish-language movie, is by Paweł Pawlikowski, a filmmaker with Jewish heritage.

Also nominated are “Capernaum,” “Never Look Away,” “Roma,” and “Shoplifters.”


One night in 1939, 22,000 Nazis held a rally in Madison Square Garden. In “A Night at the Garden,” non-Jewish director Marshall Curry brings together the footage. It includes the sight of Isadore Greenbaum, a 26-year-old Jewish plumber’s assistant, who stormed the stage in protest and was beaten and fined for “disorderly conduct.”

Simon and Jonathan Chinn, the producers behind the riveting conversation about race taken on in “Black Sheep,” are Jewish.

The moving, perilous “End Game,” about end of life care, was directed by Jewish filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

Also nominated are the fascinating shorts “Lifeboat” and “Period. End of Sentence.”



We’re sending “RBG,” the celebrated documentary about our very own Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the heartiest mazal tov. The movie, which was a surprise box office smash, was produced by filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

Also nominated are compelling docs “Free Solo,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Minding the Gap,” and “Of Fathers and Sons.”



Jewish hitmaker Diane Warren created “I’ll Fight” in homage to The Notorious One, for the documentary “RBG.”

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” was composed by Jewish musical theater stalwart Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

And surprise, surprise, a nod for platinum-blonde ear worm “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” which was co-written by Marc Ronson.

Also nominated were “All The Stars” from “Black Panther” and “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”


“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” was adapted by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.

“BlacKkKlansman” was adapted by David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel, along with non-Jewish writers Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is freakishly, delightfully Jewish. It follows real-life Jewish biographer Lee Israel, who wrote about folks like Estée Lauder, Dorothy Parker, and Fanny Brice. The screenplay was adapted by Jewish writer-director Nicole Holofcener, along with Jeff Whitty.

The adapted screenplay of “A Star Is Born” was co-written by Jewish writer Eric Roth.

Also nominated is “If Beale Street Could Talk.”



Shout-out to Melissa McCarthy, who is not Jewish, for her tremendous work as Lee Israel in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” That’s right — the climb-him-like-a-tree comedian from “Bridesmaid” has an Oscar nomination for a drama, and she deserves it.

Also nominated: Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”; Glenn Close, “The Wife”; Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”; Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”; Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?


Pawel Pawlikowski based his Best Foreign Language-nominated movie “Cold War” somewhat on the experiences of his own parents, Pawlikowski, who didn’t learn of that his Jewish grandparent was murdered in the Holocaust until he was an adult, grapples with his past in “Cold War,” as he did in 2015’s “Ida.”

Also nominated: Spike Lee; Yorgos Lanthimos; Alfonso Cuarón; Adam McKay

ANIMATED SHORT FILM “Animal Behaviour” was created by Jewish filmmaker David Fine and partner Alison Snowden.

Also nominated: “Bao”, “Late Afternoon”, “One Small Step”, “Weekends”


Jewish composer Nicholas Britell, who was also nominated for “Moonlight,” scored “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

“Mary Poppins Returns” was scored by Jewish composer Marc Shaiman, of “Hairspray” fame.

Also nominated: “Black Panther”, “BlacKkKlansman”, “Isle of Dogs”

You can read the full list of nominees here. It’s a phenomenal year for Jewish artists, a so-so year for film, and, as always, an extraordinary time to be Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Stay tuned for more Jewish movie pride, gossip, criticism, and more, during the lead up to the 91st annual Academy Awards on February 24.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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