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Jewish Journal

Meager Jewish angles at Golden Globes

by  Tom Tugend

January 18, 2010 | 2:44 pm

For his role as the suave and sadistic Nazi colonel Hans Landa, who glories in the sobriquet of “Jew hunter,” Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won the trophy for best supporting actor at Sunday evening’s Golden Globe extravaganza.
Waltz’ anticipated triumph for his part in the revenge fantasy “Inglourious Basterds,” in which a bunch of American Jewish Gis wipe out the entire Nazi leadership, was one of the few upticks in an evening largely devoid of Jewish-angles moments.
However, another Golden Globe, this one for best screenplay, went to director Jason Reitman, who co-wrote “Up in the Air” with Sheldon Turner.
The German entry “The White Ribbon,” which depicts life in a seemingly placid pre-World War I village as the seedbed for the Nazi era to come, was picked as best foreign-language film. The Israeli entry, “Ajami,” had not qualified among the five finalists.
Coming back to Christoph Waltz, when “Basterds” was shown last August at New York’s Museum of Jewish History, the film’s director Quentin Tarantino mentioned to a reporter for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz that Waltz’ son was a rabbi, and in Israel yet.
According to various Google entries, the actor himself is not Jewish (even an assimilated Austrian Jewish family was unlikely to name its son Christoph). But if the rabbi story is true, the young man is either a convert or was influenced by the actor’s first wife, a native New Yorker.
Waltz’ versatility will be tested in the film “The Talking Cure,” when the Jew hunter will transform himself into a rather well-known Jew, Sigmund Freud. The movie is due to be directed by David Cronenberg from Christopher Hampton’s screenplay.
The Golden Globes, whose winners are selected by the relatively few members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are generally considered indicators as likely choices for the more prestigious Oscar awards. If this holds true at the Feb. 2 Academy Award nominations and the March 7 award ceremonies, we’ll have to wait until 2011 for hopefully better results.

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