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Two Jews Win Academy Awards

In a year in which remarkably few Jewish artists received Academy Award nominations, only two Jews managed to take home Oscars from Monday evening’s presentation.

Author and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who was not present at the ceremony, was awarded the Oscar for best screenplay adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel “Howards End.”

It was the second such Oscar that Jhabvala has won for adapting a Forster novel. She received another in 1987 for her adaptation of “A Room With a View.”

Born in Germany, where her father served as the cantor of Cologne’s largest synagogue, Prawer Jhabvala immigrated to England when she was 12.

She is married to Indian architect C.S.H. Jhabvala and has three daughters. In a prolific careers, she has written nine novels, all but one set in India, and the scripts for 12 theatrical and three television films.

Composer Alan Menken was a double winner, garnering his first Oscar for the score for “Aladdin” and the second for the song “A Whole New World” from the same animated film.

Martin Brest, producer-director of “Scent of a Woman” could not buck Clint Eastwood’s two Oscars for best film and best director, but at least had the satisfaction of seeing his star, Al Pacino, chosen as best actor for his role in his film.

Hollywood’s most famous convert to Judaism, Elizabeth Taylor, was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her tireless efforts to further AIDS awareness and research.

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