Sunday, many readers of the BJN are apt to be focused on a very important question: Who will the Jewish Oscar winners be?

Handicapping the Jewish Oscars

Right about now, a lot of people are wondering who the Oscar winners will be. Many readers of the BJN are apt to be focused on a much more important question: Who the Jewish Oscar winners will be.

Let’s start with the sure things, although there’s really never any such thing when it comes to the Oscars.

However, Israeli-born Natalie Portman is a shoe-in – ballet shoe, that is – as best actress for “The Black Swan.” The film’s Jewish director, Darren Aronofsky, is not favored to win best director.

Arguably the most Jewish film in the Oscar race is “The Social Network,” written by a Jewish writer (Aaron Sorkin), about a Jewish person (Mark Zuckerberg), played by a Jewish actor (Jesse Eisenberg). The terrific, edgy movie does have a shot at winning best picture, although “The King’s Speech” is the favorite.

In the writing awards, we can expect both winners to be Jewish. Sorkin should win best adapted screenplay for “The Social Network,” while David Seidler is almost certain to win for “The King’s Speech.” Seidler, whose paternal grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, is a former stutterer who has just gotten his first Oscar nomination at the age of 73.

Although the best actor Oscar will undoubtedly, and deservedly, go to Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech,” James Franco, whose mother is Jewish, could be the winner in the case of an upset.

In the best supporting actress category, the money is on Jewish actress Hallee Stienfeld for her role in “True Grit.” (It is expected that the two supporting actresses nominated for “The Fighter” will cancel each other out.) “True Grit,” directed by the Coen brothers, is considered the dark horse in the best picture race as well, running just behind “King’s Speech” and “Social Network” in the field of 10 films. Joel and Ethan Coen are also nominated for best director, and could win if the expected “King’s Speech” sweep does not take place.

Supporting actor could well go to Geoffrey Rush for “King’s Speech,” and although the actor is not Jewish he has played a number of Jewish characters, including David Helfgott in “Shine.” Christian Bale (whose name hints that he is not Jewish) is tied with Rush.

Another Jewish performer we expect to see grabbing the statue of the chubby little guy named Oscar (hmmmmm), is Randy Newman, who is nominated for best song for “Toy Story 3.”

Franco, Oscar, and Hathaway

The Oscar show, produced by Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, should be great fun. Franco, who sources tell us did not have a Bar Mitzvah but would still like to, co-hosts with Anne Hathaway.

With Franco, Coen & Coen, Eisenberg, Aronofsky, Sorkin, Seidler, Steinfeld, Newman and Portman in the race, this Oscar night is sure to be a winner.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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  1. Kathryn – what a big night! your predictions were spot on for most of these! Big Jewish night at the 2011 Oscars!