Jewish Journal

‘House’ of Oscar Fever

by Tom Tugend

Posted on Jan. 29, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Jewish talent and themes scored only modestly in the Oscar nominations announced Tuesday.

However, there was recognition for the critically acclaimed "House of Sand and Fog" by Vadim Perelman, a 39-year old native of Kiev, in his first feature film.

Although Perelman did not make the best director category, the film won three nominations: Ben Kingsley, who told this reporter that he had a Jewish grandparent on his mother's side, was nominated for best actor honors for his role as a proud Iranian immigrant.

Shohreh Aghdashloo, playing his wife, was nominated for best supporting actress, and James Horner for the musical score.

In the nonexistent "Jewish role by a non-Jewish actress" category, Diane Keaton was nominated for best actress as a playwright romanced by Jack Nicholson in "Something's Gotta Give."

The documentary feature category, which has been traditionally hospitable to Jewish and Holocaust themes, includes two nominees: "Capturing the Friedmans" about a highly dysfunctional Jewish family on Long Island (N.Y.), and "My Architect," chronicling the professional triumphs and unorthodox personal lifestyle of American architect Louis Kahn, created by his son Nathaniel Kahn and Susan R. Behr.

"American Splendor," about Jewish comic book cult favorite Harvey Pekar, earned an adopted screenplay nomination for writers Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Behr.

Among foreign language films, neither Israel's "Nina's Tragedies" nor the Palestinian entry "Divine Intervention" made the cut.

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