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‘Fabelmans’ flops at the Oscars, but Hollywood’s Jewish history gets a nod

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(JTA) – With seven nominations for his most personal film ever, this could have been Steven Spielberg’s biggest year at the Academy Awards. But the hot-dog fingers had other plans.

“The Fabelmans,” the director’s highly personal dramatization of his Jewish upbringing, didn’t win a single one of the Oscars it was nominated for Sunday night. Spielberg’s film lost out on the biggest categories, including best picture, director, actress, and original screenplay, all to the same movie: chaos-theory multiverse comedy “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” where the aforementioned hot-dog fingers play a starring role.

But while the most Jewish movie came up empty-handed, other Jewish stories played out on the movies’ biggest night. Here’s what you need to know.

‘Fabelmans’ follies

Spielberg’s autobiographical opus may have come up empty-handed Sunday, but it got a booby prize: “The Fabelmans” was host Jimmy Kimmel’s favorite punchline. Kimmel used his monologue to drop a series of jokes about the film, including dubbing Spielberg and star Seth Rogen “the Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood”; speculating that nominated co-star Judd Hirsch was actually absentee Tom Cruise in a mask; and warning anyone plotting to slap him Will Smith-style, “You’re gonna have to go through the Fabelman to get to me.”

Later, Kimmel kept up the bit, introducing Paul Dano and Julia Louis-Dreyfus to present an award. Kimmel billed them as “Steven Spielberg’s dad and Jonah Hill’s mom,” referencing not only Dano’s role in “The Fabelmans,” but also Louis-Dreyfus’ part as a clueless white Jewish mother in the much-maligned Netflix film “You People.”

Getting loud for ‘All Quiet’

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Netflix’s grueling drama about German soldiers on the frontlines of World War I, ended the night with four Oscars: international feature film, original score, cinematography and production design. In addition to having a Jewish producer, the movie was also adapted from a novel and 1930 film that both met the ire of the Nazi party and were tarred as Jewish plots to destroy the German state.

Another anti-dictator winner on Sunday was “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio,” which won the animated feature Oscar. Set in Fascist Italy, the Netflix film features a scene of Pinocchio mocking Il Duce himself, Benito Mussolini.

A Jewish ‘Goonies brother for life’

One of the most heartwarming moments of the evening was the best supporting actor win for Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Quan, a former child actor, had abandoned his onscreen career for decades before his big comeback role last year. In his emotional acceptance speech, Quan gave a special shout-out to “my ‘Goonies’ brother for life,” Jeff Cohen — a Jewish former child star turned entertainment lawyer. Cohen and Quan appeared in “The Goonies” together in 1985, and when Quan landed his big “Everything Everywhere” role, Cohen negotiated the terms of his deal.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Sarah Polley

There were a couple big-name Oscar winners with Jewish parents. Immediately after Quan’s big moment, veteran actress Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first-ever Oscar, also for “Everything Everywhere.” It was also a big moment for the “Halloween” star. “My mother and my father were both nominated for Oscars in different categories,” Curtis noted during her speech. Tony Curtis, Jamie Lee’s Jewish father, was one of the biggest stars of Golden Age Hollywood yet received only one Oscar nomination, in 1959 for “The Defiant Ones.”

Another winner with a Jewish father: the writer-director-actor Sarah Polley, who won best adapted screenplay for “Women Talking.” Polley explored the secret of her biological parentage in her 2013 documentary “Stories We Tell.” “Women Talking” is set inside a different religious community: an isolated Mennonite society in which the women have been systematically, sexually abused by the men.

Navalny and the neo-Nazis

The winner for best documentary went to a profile of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose 2020 poisoning by KGB agents after he publicly criticized Vladimir Putin was an international scandal. Navalny is currently imprisoned in Russian solitary confinement; the filmmakers dedicated the award to him. The documentary also details an aspect of Navalny’s campaign more controversial to Western observers: his onetime support of the “Russian march,” a gathering of Russian neo-Nazi organizations.

Diane Warren’s no-win situation

Did you know the songwriter Diane Warren is a 14-time Academy Award nominee? Singer Sofia Carson reminded everyone in the middle of the evening’s first performance for best original song. Warren, who is Jewish, joined in the performance of “Applause,” her composition from the feminist documentary “Tell It Like A Woman.” She has never won an Oscar, and unfortunately for her, the streak continued Sunday night as the viral sensation “Naatu Naatu,” from the Indian film “RRR,” took the prize. (As a consolation, Warren received an honorary Oscar at the Governor’s Awards preceding the telecast.)

Another Jew-ish shutout

Also drawing blanks was “Tár,” the cerebral classical-music psychological drama with somewhat inexplicable Jewish themes.

Hollywood’s Jewish history gets a nod

The broadcast included a promotional video for the Academy Museum, which opened last year to celebrate the history of Hollywood. In the video, a curator named Dara Jaffe explains that one of the museum’s roles is to “bring important film histories to light, from the Jewish immigrants who founded the Hollywood studios to the early innovators of African-American cinema.” The inclusion is notable because the museum drew steep criticism when it first opened for giving short shrift to the industry’s robust Jewish history; Jaffe was appointed to put together a permanent exhibition about that history in response. The exhibition has not yet opened.

On this #Oscars night, we celebrate the incredible work of our team at the Academy Museum. This institution advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. pic.twitter.com/6DEM9TUXiG

— Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (@AcademyMuseum) March 13, 2023


The post ‘Fabelmans’ flops at the Oscars, but Hollywood’s Jewish history gets a nod appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituaries

PHYLLIS POLLOCK

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary

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By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre


Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station

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This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.


The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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