Here’s a look at some of this year’s Jewish Academy Award nominees


By Nate Bloom , Special to the Jewish Light

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 12, at 7 p.m. on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel will host. The ceremony is produced by GLENN WEISS, 61, and his professional partner, RICKY KIRSHNER, 60.

Rihanna will sing at the ceremony, as will DIANE WARREN, 66. Warren and Sofia Carson will perform “Applause,” a contender this year for the best song Oscar. Warren, who wrote the song, has been previously nominated 13 times for this Oscar and has never won.

She was given an Honorary Oscar last November. At the ceremony, she exclaimed from the stage: “I’ve waited 34 years to say this. “I’d like to thank the academy!”

Here are the “verified” Jewish nominees in all but the technical categories, and one “honorable mention.”


Acting Categories:

Michelle Williams (honorable mention) is nominated (lead actress) for playing Mitzi Fabelman, a Jewish woman, in “The Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical film directed and co-written by STEVEN SPIELBERG, 76.

In a recent interview, Williams said that her two young children with theater director THOMAS KAIL, 45, would be raised Jewish and that she was studying Judaism herself. Williams added that Jewish families lived on both sides of her childhood home and she “adored being in their homes… the discourse at the tables and the deep sense of belonging that tradition fosters.”

JAMIE LEE CURTIS, 62, is nominated for best supporting actress for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” This interesting sci-fi film posited that a person could exist in different universes and have differing personalities in each universe. So, Curtis’ character varied greatly depending on the universe she came from.

Jaime is the secular daughter of the late actors TONY CURTIS and Janet Leigh. Tony was an absent father, and a hard guy to be around, period. But Jamie managed to maintain ties to him.  Together, they helped restore synagogues in Hungary, where Tony’s parents came from. Her husband of 39-years is actor/writer CHRISTOPHER GUEST, 74. His parents, he says, were “Jewish atheists.”

JUDD HIRSCH, 87, is frankly, a “miracle.” He has the look and energy of a man 20-years younger. In a recent “CBS Sunday Morning” segment, Hirsch detailed his early life, which included the expectation that he would settle for a “safe” job. Instead, he ditched a college engineering degree program with one semester to go and plunged into acting. He was 43 when he got his first hit TV role (“Taxi,” of course) and since then he has never stopped giving great TV and film performances (often playing Jews).

In “The Fablemans,” Hirsch brought wacko, poignant, unexpected energy to the film as he played (for 10 minutes) the family’s only adult in showbiz. Hirsch, and a few scenes of teenage Sammy Fabelman making mini-movies, were high-energy highlights. The rest of “The Fabelmans” was, frankly, kind of a “downer” and that helped make it a box-office flop.

Hirsch has three children with his (Jewish) ex-wife.

Directing, screenplays & music

STEVEN SPIELBERG, 76, is the only Jewish nominee in the director category (“The Fabelmans”) and Spielberg and TONY KUSHNER, 66 (“Fabelmans”) are the only Jewish nominees for the original screenplay Oscar.

ERIC WARREN SINGER, 54, shares the nomination for adapted screenplay with four other “Top Gun: Maverick” writers. He was previously nominated (2013) for his original script for “American Hustle” (with director DAVID O. RUSSELL). 

Diane Warren, as noted above, is a up for a best song Oscar and JUSTIN HURWITZ, 38 (“Babylon”) is an original score nominee. He previously won this Oscar for “La La Land” (2016). 

Best Picture

There are 10 nominated films. The Oscar goes to the film’s principal producers. Here are six best picture nominees with a “verified” Jewish producer(s).

“Avatar: The Way of the Water,” was co-produced by JON LANDAU, 62. Landau is either freakishly lucky or a kind of genius. He’s only produced nine films, including the three Avatar movies (“Avatar 3” to be released in 2024). But these nine include “Titanic” (over $2.2 billion grossed) and the two released Avatar films (together, grossed about $6 billion).

Landau’s late parents, ELY and EDIE LANDAU, were top producers who made scores of films and TV shows.

Tár, a strong drama, stars Cate Blanchett, as Lydia Tár, a top classical conductor. The producers include ALEXANDRA MILCHAN, 51, the daughter of ARON MILCHAN, 78, an Israeli billionaire who is a prolific film producer. Her mother, a former French model, is a convert to Judaism.  

“Top Gun: Maverick,” a hit action sequel, was co-produced by veteran “uber-producer” JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, 79. “Maverick” is his first best picture nomination.  

“The Fabelmans”: Spielberg and Kushner also produced this film.

“Elvis” is about the real Elvis, not an imitator. The producers include GAIL BERMAN, 66, long a Hollywood big-time player, and SCHUYLER WEISS, 40. 

“Women Talking” is about female members of an Amish-like religious sect who stand up against sexual abuse by male members. The producers include JEREMY KLEINER, 43. This film was directed and written by Sarah Polley (her screenplay is nominated). As I have wrote before, she found out as an adult that her biological father is Jewish. 

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