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Oscar nominations play Jewish tune

Adrien Brody, in the foreground, in a scene from The Pianist. (Focus Features)

Adrien Brody, in the foreground, in a scene from The Pianist. (Focus Features)

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 (JTA) — It could be another Jewish night at the Oscars this year. “The Pianist,” a searing film about one Jewish musician’s survival in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation, earned seven Oscar nominations, including best picture, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday. Roman Polanski, the movie’s director, and Adrien Brody, in the title role of Wladyslaw Szpilman, were nominated in the directing and best actor categories, respectively. The film is based on a memoir by Szpilman. In recent years, several Holocaust-themed films, beginning with “Schindler’s List,” have won Oscars. There had been considerable speculation whether Polanski, who escaped from the Krakow Ghetto as a boy of 7, would be nominated. He is officially a fugitive from the United States for having had unlawful sexual relations with a minor. He currently lives in Paris. Polanski was previously nominated for his films “Tess,” “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” The German entry, “Nowhere in Africa,” was nominated for best foreign language film. It describes the struggles of a German Jewish refugee family in the 1930s to adapt to life in Kenya. Israel’s entry, “Broken Wings,” was not nominated. Nominated in the documentary feature category was “Prisoner of Paradise.” Its central character is Kurt Gerron, a popular Jewish entertainer in pre-Hitler Berlin who directed a Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt. Gerron was later killed in Auschwitz. The 2002 Academy Awards will be presented on March 23.

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