The Tribe Goes to the Oscars: 2019 Edition

Rachel Weisz in a scene from ‘The Favourite.’ Weisz is a best supporting film actress nominee in this year’s Golden Globes.

By Nate Bloom, Special to the Jewish Light

The Oscars awards ceremony will be held starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC. Below are the “confirmed” Jewish nominees in all but the technical categories.

In November, honorary Oscars were awarded. One went to LALO SCHFRRIN, 86. Born in Argentina, he moved to the United States in 1963. He was nominated for an Oscar six times. His most famous works include the theme for “Mission: Impossible” and the scores for “Bullitt” and “Cool Hand Luke.”

Acting: RACHEL WEISZ, 48, supporting actress for “The Favourite.” Weisz already won this Oscar for “The Constant Gardener.” Given Oscar politics, she’s unlikely to win again.

Music; best original score: NICHOLAS BRITELL, 38 (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and MARC SHAIMAN, 59 (“The Return of Mary Poppins”). Britell’s two Oscar nominations (his other was for “Moonlight,” 2016) are for films featuring African Americans that were directed by Barry Jenkins. Best original song: MARK RONSON, 43, and DIANE WARREN, 62. Ronson co-wrote “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” Warren wrote “I’ll Fight,” a song used in “RBG,” a documentary about Justice RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 85. I’m sad to say that I don’t think Warren, who has 10 best song Oscar nominations, will win her first Oscar this year.


Adapted Screenplay; (1) “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” written by JOEL COEN, 64, and his brother, ETHAN, 61. This anthology Western is a Netflix original. The brothers Coen have already won four Oscars in various categories. (2) “BlacKkKlansman.” The original film script (based on a book) was written by CHARLIE WACHTEL and DAVID RABINOWITZ, both 32. They sold their script to “Klan” director Spike Lee. Lee and Kevin Willmott made some changes and they are co-nominees for this Oscar; (3) “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” co-written by NICOLE HOLOFCENER, 58. She is best known for writing and directing her own films. “Can You” is based on a memoir by the late LEE ISRAEL, a journalist turned celebrity letter forger (Melissa McCarthy, who played Israel, is Oscar-nominated); and (4) “A Star is Born,” which was co-written by ERIC ROTH, 73. Roth won this Oscar for “Forrest Gump” and his many famous movie scripts include STEVEN SPIELBERG’s “Munich.”

Animated Feature: This Oscar category includes as nominees the film’s writer (s), main producer, and director(s). SCOTT RUDIN was the producer of “Isle of Dogs,” a nominee. RODNEY ROTHMAN was a co-writer and co-director of another nominated film, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse.” Animated Short Film: “Animal Behaviour” was co-directed by DAVID FINE, 58. It’s about a group of animals that meet each week for group psychiatric therapy. This is the second Oscar nomination for Fine, a Canadian, and his wife, Alison Snowden. They won in 1993 for “Bob’s Birthday.”

Documentary; Feature length: “RBG”, co-directed and co-produced by JULIE COHEN, 54, and Betsy West. As noted above, this film is about Justice Ginsburg. It has turned out to be the surprise hit of the year and has a good chance of winning. Cohen has just the background for her film’s subject matter—she has a Columbia University master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in legal studies from Yale. Her brother, BRUCE COHEN, 57, is a top Hollywood producer who won a best picture Oscar for producing “American Beauty.” If Julie Cohen wins, she and her brother will be the 10th pair of siblings to be Oscar winners. Four of the previous nine are/were Jewish.

Documentary Short: (1) “Black Sheep” is a film about the effects of racism on a young black man in England. It was produced by JONATHAN CHINN. The Chinns are a prominent British family. SIMON CHINN, Jonathan’s cousin, has produced two Oscar winning-documentaries and works with Jonathan. Simon’s father, Sir TREVOR CHINN, 83, is a very successful businessman and a key figure in U.K. Jewish communal organizations and (2) “End Game,” a film about end-of-life care that was co-directed and co-produced by ROB EPSTEIN, 63, and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN, 67. Friedman has won two Oscars for documentaries (“The Times of Harvey Milk” and “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt”).

Live Action Short film: “Skin,” which was co-produced by actress JAMIE RAY NEWMAN, 40, and her Israeli husband, GUY NATTIV, 45, who directed it. Newman has had a good career for the last 15 years in various TV series. A full feature version of “Skin,” also called “Skin,” got good reviews at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival and was picked-up for national distribution sometime this year. The full-length version stars Jamie Bell as a neo-Nazi skinhead who risked his life to leave a white supremacist group. It’s based on a true story.

The best film Oscar goes to the film’s principal producers. The only nominated producer this year I’m sure is Jewish is JASON BLUM, 49 (“BlacKkKlansman”).