Oscar and the Jews

By Symi Rom-Rymer

This year’s Oscars brought us some surprises (Sandra Bullock), some truly painful dance sequences (I’m looking at you Adam Shankman), and some deserving winners (The Hurt Locker).

It also proved, once again, that Hollywood wouldn’t be funny without the Jews.   From a running gag about Meryl Streep’s Hitler memorabilia collection to Ben Stiller speaking ‘Na’vi’—which sounded suspiciously Hebraic–we got all the best jokes.   Teetering on the thin line between hilarious and offensive (and what Oscar night doesn’t?) here are my favorite Jewish moments of the 82nd Academy Awards:

Abe Foxman giving his additional stamp of approval for the movie An Education (he already spoke out in favor of Inglorious Bastards) which features a Jewish con-artist protagonist.  As JWeekly.com writes,

“the ADL noted that ‘there is nothing in the film to suggest that the main character represents Jews as a whole, or even some Jews. To call it anti-Semitic would suggest that any depiction of bad behavior by a Jew is beyond the pale. That is not the view of ADL, and ADL does not find the film offensive.’”

Whew! That’s a load off my mind.

Steve Martin commenting, “Everyone who’s ever worked with Meryl Streep says the same thing. Can that woman act, and what’s up with all the Hitler memorabilia?”

Ben Stiller inserting the words “Pesach” and ‘borei pre hagafen’ while introducing the Best Makeup award.

Steve Martin suggesting that Christoph Waltz, who played a Jew-hunter in Inglorious Bastards, could have his pick of Jewish targets in the Kodak theater.

Symi Rom-Rymer writes and blogs about Jewish and Muslim communities in the US and Europe. She has been published in JTA, The Christian Science Monitor and Jewcy.

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