Jews in the News: Mark Ronson, Julie Cohen and Jason Blum

The Tribe Goes to the Oscars: 2019 Edition

 The Oscars awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24 (8PM) on ABC. Below are the ‘confirmed’ Jewish nominees in all but the technical categories.

 Acting: RACHEL WEISZ, 48, supporting actress for “The Favourite.” Weisz already won this Oscar for “The Constant Gardener,” so, given Oscar politics, she’s unlikely to win again.

Honorable mention (acting). Melissa McCarthy is a best actress nominee for playing the late LEE ISRAEL in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Adam Driver is a supporting actor nominee for playing a Jewish police officer in “BlacKkKlansman (The police officer, who was real, was “made Jewish” for dramatic effect).

 Music; best original score: NICHOLAS BRITELL, 38 (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and MARC SHAIMAN, 59 (“Mary Poppins Returns”). Britell was nominated in 2016 for his score for “Moonlight.” Best original song: MARK RONSON, 43, and DIANE WARREN, 62. Ronson co-wrote “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” Warren wrote “I’ll Fight,” a song used in “RBG,” a documentary about Justice RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 85. I’m sad to say that I don’t think Warren, who has 10 best song Oscar nominations, will win her first Oscar this year.

Adapted Screenplay; (1) “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, written by JOEL COEN, 64, and his brother, ETHAN, 61. This anthology Western is a Netflix original. The brothers Coen have already won four Oscars in various categories. (2) BlacKk Klansman”. The original film script (based on a book) was written by CHARLIE WACHTEL and DAVID RABINOWITZ, both 32. They sold their script to “Klan” director Spike Lee. Lee and Kevin Willmott made some changes and they are co-nominees for this Oscar; (3) “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, co-written by NICOLE HOLOFCENER, 58. “Can You” is based on a memoir by Lee Israel, a journalist turned celebrity letter forger and (4) “A Star is Born,” which was co-written by ERIC ROTH, 73. Roth won this Oscar for “Forrest Gump” and his many famous movie scripts include STEVEN SPIELBERG’s “Munich.”

Animated Feature: This Oscar category includes as nominees the film’s writer (s), main producer, and director(s). SCOTT RUDIN was the producer of “Isle of Dogs,” a nominee. RODNEY ROTHMAN, 45ish, was a co-writer and co-director of another nominated film, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse.” Animated Short Film: “Animal Behaviour” was co-directed by DAVID FINE, 58. It’s about a group of animals that meet each week for group psychiatric therapy. Fine, a Canadian, and his wife, Alison Snowden, won an Oscar in this category in 1993.

 Documentary; Feature length: “RBG”, co-directed and co-produced by JULIE COHEN, 54, and Betsy West. As noted above, this film is about Justice Ginsburg. It’s turned-out to be the surprise hit of the year and has a good chance of winning. Cohen has just the background for her film’s subject matter—she has a Columbia Univ. masters’ degree in journalism and a masters’ degree in legal studies from Yale. Her brother, BRUCE COHEN, 57, is a top Hollywood producer who won a best picture Oscar for producing “American Beauty.” If Julie Cohen wins, she and her brother will be the 10th pair of siblings to be Oscar winners. 5 of the previous 9 are/were Jewish.

Documentary Short; (1) “Black Sheep” is a film about the effects of racism on a young black man in England. It was produced by JONATHAN CHINN, 50ish, a member of a prominent UK Jewish family; and (2) “End Game”, a film about end-of-life care that was co-directed and co-produced by ROB EPSTEIN, 63, and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN, 67. Epstein has won two Oscars for documentaries (“The Times of Harvey Milk” and “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt”.) He shared the latter Oscar with Friedman).

Live Action Short film: “Skin,” which was co-produced by actress JAMIE RAY NEWMAN, 40, and her Israeli husband, GUY NATTIV, 45. It was directed by Nattiv. Newman has had a good career for the last 15 years in various TV series.   A full feature version of “Skin”, also called “Skin,” got good reviews at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival and was picked-up for national distribution sometime this year. The full length version stars Jamie Bell as a neo-Nazi skinhead who risked his life to leave a white supremacist group. It’s based on a true story.

 The best film Oscar goes to the film’s principal producers. The only nominated producer this year I’m sure is Jewish is JASON BLUM, 49 (“Black KkKlansman”)

 Honorable mention: Marshall Curry, 48, directed a best short feature nominee, “A Night at the Garden.” He hunted for and found all the available footage of a notorious 1938 Madison Square Garden rally put on by the pro-Nazi German-American Bund; “Cold War” is an acclaimed Polish language film that is a best foreign film nominee. The director/producer of the film is Pawl Pawlikowski. He had a paternal Jewish grandmother who died in Auschwitz.


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