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Spielberg’s ‘Fabelmans’ leads crop of Jewish Oscar nominations

“The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama about his Jewish upbringing, is expected to garner a host of Oscar nominations, with seven nominations, the Academy announced.

A remake of a movie once targeted by the Nazis, a blockbuster embroiled in a lawsuit involving an Israeli family, and a documentary from the program director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival are also on a list brimming with Jewish characters, stories, and artists.

Spielberg’s film overcomes an anemic box office scoring nominations in the major categories of best picture, director and screenplay, ahead of Spielberg and acclaimed Jewish playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner. The directing nomination brings Spielberg’s total nominations in the category to nine, tying him with Martin Scorsese for the second most directing nominations in Oscars history.

Steven Spielberg poses in the press room with awards for Best Director of a Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture Drama for “The Fabelmans” at the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, January 10, 2023, (Chris Pizzello/Invision/ AP)

The film also scored acting bumps for Judd Hirsch, who is Jewish, and Michelle Williams, who recently said she plans to raise her two children in the Jewish tradition.

‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, Netflix’s new German-language adaptation of the classic 1929 novel about the horrors German soldiers endured during World War I, has also been nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture, International Feature Film and Adapted Screenplay . The film’s source material was once banned and burned by the rising Nazi party, which believed its anti-war stance made the German military appear weak and a threat to its plans for world domination.


Top Gun: Maverick, the action blockbuster sequel, garners four nominations, including Best Picture. The film’s distributor, Paramount, is currently embroiled in a copyright lawsuit with the family of Israeli journalist Ehud Yonay, whose magazine article about a naval aviator school was the basis for the original “Top Gun” in 1986. In November, a judge dismissed Paramount’s attempts to to discard the suit and ruled that the Yonay family could continue with the claims.

Writer, director and actress Sarah Polley has been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for her drama “Women Talking,” about a group of abused women in an isolated Mennonite community, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Polley has a Jewish biological father, whose secret parentage she explored in her 2013 documentary ‘Stories We Tell’.

Jewish film producer Gail Berman scores her first Oscar nomination for producing the Best Picture nominee “Elvis,” while Jewish production partners Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel score their own Best Picture nomination for “The Whale.” The film, which Aronofsky directed, stars Brendan Fraser (also nominated) as a morbidly obese English professor.

‘All The Beauty And The Bloodshed’, a portrait of outsider artist Nan Goldin and her long-standing activism campaign against the Sackler family of opioid companies, is nominated in the Best Documentary category and is up for grabs to win. The film documents how Goldin was born to Jewish parents but had an emotionally abusive home life and left home in her teens. The Sacklers are also Jewish.

In the short documentaries category, the second consecutive nomination went to Jewish filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, whose documentary ‘How Do You Measure A Year’ chronicles the many years of his daughter Ella’s birthdays. Rosenblatt is program director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.