While the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock has dominated Oscar news, there were some memorable Jewish moments to celebrate throughout the ceremony as well as a touching tribute to the people of Ukraine.
Overall, it wasn’t a fantastic night for Jewish nominees, with high-profile figures Steven Spielberg, Andrew Garfield and Maggie Gyllenhaal walking away empty-handed. Licorice Pizza, nominated for Best Picture, also missed out on the top gong.
However, there were some wins for the Jewish nominees.
CODA – an emotional drama about a deaf family and their hearing child who dreams of becoming a singer, and starring Jewish actress Marlee Matlin as the family matriarch – picked up three Oscars, including Best Picture.
Matlin, who is deaf, was the first deaf performer to win an Oscar in 1987 for Children of a Lesser God.
Megastar film composer Hans Zimmer, a German Jew whose mother had fled the country in 1939, won his second Oscar for his original score for the sci-fi epic Dune. Many of the craft and technical awards were presented during a pre-taped show and then edited into the live broadcast.
When the award was announced, in a Tweet, Zimmer showed off a photo of himself clad in a hotel bathrobe in Amsterdam, rocking what was either his new statuette sent on an incredibly fast express flight, an Oscar stand-in, or his 1994 trophy for scoring The Lion King.
— Hans Zimmer (@HansZimmer) March 28, 2022
Jewish producer and longtime studio executive David Dinerstein scored his first Oscar, for producing Best Documentary Feature winner Summer of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).
In another memorable Jewish moment, Robert Evans, the legendary Jewish producer and studio executive who was responsible for getting many classic movies off the ground, got a shout-out during a segment paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Godfather. Flanked by stars Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, writer-director Frances Ford Coppola shared words of appreciation for Evans and his vision, without which, he said, The Godfather would never have been made.
And, of course, who could forget the hosts. This year, the ceremony was hosted by three women, with many joking that the Oscars couldn’t afford one male to host, so they chose three females instead. Jewish comedian Amy Schumer was joined onstage by Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. Schumer was the first Jewish host since Billy Crystal in 2012.
Jewish Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis conducted a tribute to Ukraine.
“Recent global events have left many of us feeling gutted,” Kunis started. “Yet when you witness the strength and dignity of those facing such devastation, it’s impossible to not be moved by their resilience… One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
Following Kunis’ tribute, Reba McIntyre performed the Oscar-nominated song Somehow You Do from Four Good Days. She was dressed in black for her performance. Many attendees arrived wearing blue and gold ribbons.
At the conclusion of McIntyre’s performance, the Oscars went silent as the awards faded to black for 30 seconds with a screen paying tribute to the country and pleading for everyone to do whatever possible to help the war-torn nation.
With JTA and Times of Israel