Will Bradley Cooper wear a Hebrew shirt to the Oscars?

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Will Bradley Cooper wear a Hebrew shirt to the Oscars?

It's the Academy Awards on Sunday and these are the nominated we're rooting for

The Oscars are all about stamina. Especially this year. You need fortitude to sit through nominated films, many of which exceed the average working day (Oppenheimer and Flowers of the Killer Moon) in length.

Steadfastness is required to fathom plots, such as the foul mystery that is Poor Things and then there’s the ceremony itself which is an endurance test for those in Black Tie at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and those in pyjamas in Bushey.

The Jewish audience has not had a genuine reason to stay up since Spielberg swept the board with Schindler’s List in 1993, but 2024 has delivered some worthy tribe contenders. Claiming Oppenheimer is problematic because of what he did, but he was one of ours and Christopher Nolan’s biopic of the theoretical physicist has 13 nominations.

Todd and star Natalie Portman

Director Todd Haynes’ May, December is nominated for Best Original Screenplay and because of Barbie’s Jewish creator Ruth Handler we’re connected and the film’s Jewish co-writer Noah Baumbach is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay with real-life partner Greta Gerwig, also the director. Barbie has made a chunk of change at the box office because audiences love it, but has yet to bank many gongs, so it’s up to Jewish musician Mark Ronson to win Best Original Song and with Ryan Gosling singing ‘I’m Just Ken‘ how could he not.

Noah Baumbach with his partner Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie

Hoping to win in the same category is songwriter  Diane Warren for The Fire Inside from Flamin’ Hot which we know nothing about. Bold enough to tackle the Holocaust without showing the horror, former JFS pupil  Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth, Under the Skin) is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best International Feature Film with his chilling The Zone of Interest.

British director Jonathan Glazer

Adapted from the late Martin Amis’ novel  about Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig  living a dream life beside the camp, the German-language stripped-down Shoah drama was a huge research project for Glazer who told the FT, “I didn’t want drama… I’m very suspicious about people making films about the Holocaust. I was even suspicious of myself.”  Elsewhere,  producers David Heyman  (Barbie), Dan Friedkin  (Killers of The Flower Moon) and Steven Spielberg  (Maestro)  are all nominated in the  Best Picture category.

Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper in the principal role,  Maestro has been about as unlucky as Barbie when it comes to gongs. Here’s hoping Cooper ditches his tuxedo for the tee shirt he wore while portraying composer  Leonard Bernstein, but the Harvard in Hebrew slogan might not fly with his new girlfriend, Pro Palestinian model Gigi Hadid. Others on the faith roster  include acclaimed composer  Laura Karpman  for Best Original Score for the excellent American Fiction and  for Best Documentary Feature  the two Jewish hopefuls are British producer  John Battsek   for  Bobi Wine: The People’s President  and  Raney Aronson-Rath  for the BAFTA-winning Ukraine war documentary  20 Days in Mariupol. 

Renowned for his collaborative work with Ridley Scott on Gladiator  and other films, Arthur Max could scoop Best Production Design for the historical epic  Napoleon and the Best Cinematographer Jewish contenders are American Edward Lachman for El Conde and Dutch filmmaker Hoyte van Hoytema for Oppenheimer.

For Best Documentary Short cheer for Sheila Nevins (The ABCs of Book Banning) or John Hoffman (The Barber of Little Rock), while Jewish-American producer Steven Rales could see The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar win Best Live Action Short Film . If murmurs are true the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be making changes if the woke get their way and removing the male and female categories. At least the golden genderless statuette won’t offend and we hope to see Oscar handed to Israeli filmmaker Tal Kantor for her Holocaust story, Letter to a Pig in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Helen Mirren transformed into Oscar nominated disguise as Golda

In these sad, contentious times, politics pervades culture, so we wish  Karen Hartley and Suzi Battersby mazel tov for their hair and make-up nomination for transforming Helen Mirren in Golda. This is one in the eye to those who were so derogatory about the look created for Israel’s prime minister. Tinsel Town’s Jewish legacy was acknowledged by Barbra Streisand at the SAG awards last week, and in her Lifetime Achievement Award speech she referenced cinematic pioneers – Szmuel Gelbfisz (Sam Goldwyn) Lazar Meir (Louis B Mayer) and the four Wonskolaser brothers (Warner Brothers) – who had fled “the prejudice they faced in Eastern Europe, simply because of their religion”. “They were dreamers too, like all of us here tonight,” she continued. “And I dream that that prejudice is a thing of the past.”  See you on Sunday in your PJ’s.

The Oscars: Watch on ITV1 and ITVX, with a new companion show hosted by Jonathan Ross starting from 10:30pm on Sunday 10th March.

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