Jewish films make Oscar cut


LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Two films with Jewish themes were nominated for Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category.

Israel’s entry “Beaufort” and Austria’s “The Counterfeiters” were among five films to receive the nod Tuesday in the category from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Oscars will be handed out Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Beaufort,” directed by Joseph Cedar, is a wrenching war movie depicting the final action of the first Lebanon War, when a small Israeli unit evacuated the medieval Beaufort fortress.

The last Israeli film to be nominated for an Oscar was the jailhouse drama “Beyond the Walls” in 1984.

In “the Counterfeiters” by Stefan Ruzowitzky, the Nazis round up dozens of skilled Jewish craftsmen from concentration camps to create perfect counterfeits of British and U.S. currency in a last-ditch ploy to wreck the economies of the two allies.

Also making the cut is Poland’s entry, “Katyn” by Andrzej Wajda, which dramatizes the massacre of some 20,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviets in 1940.

Another Jewish-themed foreign film, Brazil’s “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” was among the nine semifinalists in the category but did not make the final cut.

It is the story of a boy with one Jewish parent who is thrown into an Orthodox environment when his parents flee the 1970 military dictatorship. The director, Cao Hamburger, is the grandson of Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany.

To the surprise of most film critics, the Romanian entry “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” didn’t even make the semifinals. The film on the tribulations of getting an abortion in communist Romania had won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and top honors at the European Film Awards.

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