The Jewish tradition is famously hot on storytelling, which means it comes as no surprise that five Jewish film directors were nominated for Oscars during this morning’s 80th Annual Academy Award nominations telecast. Four received Best Director nominations and the fifth saw his film nominated as Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Though the themes featured in many of this year’s Best Picture nods are grim and often violent, it is a happy occasion for several works that have been on our radar screen over the past few months:
Jason Reitman, who generously shared his thoughts on the Jewishness of storytelling at Sinai Temple’s Jewish Film Festival last Spring was nominated as Best Director for “Juno,” a clever coming-of-age story about a pregnant teen who decides to give her baby up for adoption.
Joel and Ethan Coen—better known as “The Coen Brothers” scored a record eight nods for their crime thriller, “No Country For Old Men,” a film about a drug deal gone horribly awry.
Painter-turned-filmmaker Julian Schnabel received a nod for his artful meditation “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” about Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of French Elle magazine who was paralyzed with “locked-in syndrome” and penned his best-selling memoir with only the use of his left eye.
Israeli film “Beaufort” directed by Joseph Cedar received a well deserved accolade in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Though I have to hope next year’s nominations include a Jewish female, Oscar night will certainly be fun with so many teammates to cheer for. But after the terrible fate of the Golden Globes, let’s hope there still is an Oscar night…