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Jonah Hill, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, ‘Footnote’ in Oscar finals

by  Tom Tugend

January 24, 2012 | 8:34 am

Director and producer Steven Spielberg (C) arrives with wife, actress Kate Capshaw and their daughter Sasha Spielberg (R) at the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills, California on Jan. 21. Photo by REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Veterans Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen and Israel’s “Footnote” are in the finals of the Oscar race as the 84th Academy Award nominations were announced early Jan. 24 in Los Angeles.

Spielberg’s “War Horse” and Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” are among the nine best picture nominees, while Allen also got nods for best director and best writing (original screenplay).

However, surprisingly, Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” which won a Golden Globe, did not qualify in the best animated film competition.

Israel’s hope for its first Oscar was kept alive with Joseph Cedar’s “Footnote” listed among the five finalists in the foreign-language film category. The story of the rivalry between two talmudic scholars, who are also father and son, marks Cedar’s second Oscar nod, following “Beaufort” in 2007.

Israel’s toughest competition for the Oscar will likely come from Iran’s entry “A Separation” and the Polish film “In Darkness.”

Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”), the half-Jewish director of “In Darkness,” tells the actual story of a dozen Jewish men, women and children, who hid in the underground sewers of Lvov for 14 months during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Among other Jewish talent making the cut are:

Jonah Hill, the surprise hit of “Moneyball” after graduating from his shaggy boy roles in “Superbad” and “Cyrus,” who qualified in the best supporting actor category.

Aaron Sorkin (with Steven Zailian), whose “Moneyball” is vying for best adapted screenplay.

Oscar winners will be crowned Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

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