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Movies with Jewish Themes Rack Up Oscar Nominations

Two films and a documentary on Holocaust themes, and two other Hollywood movies keyed to Jewish characters have received Academy Award nominations in the top categories. Oscar nominees, announced Wednesday, include:

“Driving Miss Daisy,” for best film, and Jessica Tandy for best actress. Tandy portrays a somewhat cranky Jewish lady, whose relationship to her black chauffeur in a changing South is chronicled over the post-World War II decades.

“Crimes and Misdemeanors” earned Woody Allen best director and best screenplay nods, with Martin Landau in the running for best supporting actor. In the dark comedy, set in a contemporary American Jewish milieu, Landau plays a wealthy ophthalmologist who has his troublesome mistress killed.

“Enemies, A Love Story,” based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer, follows the love-hate relationships among four Holocaust survivors in New York during the late 1940s. Among the three women vying for the same man are characters played by Anjelica Huston and Swedish actress Lena Olin, both nominated for best supporting actress.

Jessica Lange, nominated for best actress for her role in “Music Box,” plays a Chicago lawyer who must defend her immigrant father, who is charged with wartime atrocities against Hungarian Jews. The film is partially based on the case of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-American who was convicted in Israel as being the sadistic concentration camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.”

In the category for best short subject documentary, Ray Errol Fox’s “Yad Vashem: Preserving the Past to Ensure the Future,” is one of three nominees. The 15-minute documentary focuses on the Children’s Memorial at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.

Winners of the Academy Awards will be announced on March 26.

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