Jewish talent earns fair share of Oscar nominations

The biggest winners were brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, whose thriller No Country for Old Men earned eight nominations.

cohen brothers 88 224 (photo credit: ap )
cohen brothers 88 224
(photo credit: ap )
After some relatively lean years, Hollywood's Jewish talent - as well as Israel's - made a solid showing as nominations for the 80th Academy Awards were announced at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The biggest winners were brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, whose thriller No Country for Old Men earned eight nominations, while Daniel Day-Lewis, son of British Jewish actress Jill Balcon, qualified in the best actor category for his role as tough oil prospector in There Will Be Blood, which also topped the field with eight nominations. Israel's Beaufort by Joseph Cedar, a gritty movie about the end of the first Lebanon War, was one of five international finalists as best foreign language film. This is the first time since 1984's Beyond the Walls that an Israeli picture has made the final cut in the category, though the Oscar has eluded the country's film industry so far. Competing with Beaufort for the Oscar are Austria's "The Counterfeiters" about a group of Jews culled from concentration camps by the Nazis during World War II to swamp the British and American economies with counterfeit currency. Also in contention are Poland's Katyn, which dramatizes the massacre of some 20,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviets in 1940, Kazakhstan's Mongol and Russia's 12. THE COEN brothers won four personal nominations for best film, director, adapted screenplay and editing (the last under the odd pseudonym Roderick Jaynes), out of the total eight noms for No Country for Old Men. Scott Rudin shared the producing credit. Jewish creativity was especially noticeable in "Achievement in Directing." Besides the two Coens, nominations went to the multi-talented Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and to Jason Reitman for Juno. The songwriting team of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz earned three out of the available five slots for their songs "So Close," "That's How You Know" and "Happy Working Song" for the Walt Disney film Enchanted. British-Jewish writer Ronald Harwood was nominated for his adapted screenplay for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Jewish names also popped up in a number of lesser categories. The Academy Awards will be held February 24, with producer Gil Cates and host Jon Stewart, both Jewish, at the helm. However, due to the prolonged strike by Hollywood's writers, which top actors are supporting, it is anybody's guess whether the show will come off with the traditional glamor and razzle-dazzle.