Arts, culture & judaica | Ida wins, Aya loses at Oscars

Jewish artists and themes were among the winners at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 22 in Los Angeles.

The Oscar for best foreign language film went to “Ida,” a Polish film about a Catholic novitiate who learns she is the daughter of Jewish parents killed by the Nazis.

“Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose paternal grandmother was Jewish and died in Auschwitz, was asked during a backstage interview whether he considers the Holocaust and the fate of the Jewish people one aspect of post-World War II Poland.

“Of course, Polish-Jewish relations are difficult,” he said. “And the two lead characters, Ida and [her aunt] Wanda, are Jewish, but for me they are Polish. I don’t like people who attack the film from various sides and say, ‘Oh, it’s about Jews and Poles and stuff.’ ”

Israel’s bid for an Oscar,  “Aya,” failed to win for best short film.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which tied with “Birdman” for the most Oscars at four apiece, has an oblique Jewish connection. Director Wes Anderson said  the film was inspired by the writings of the Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig.

Mexican-Jewish cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accepted an Oscar for “Birdman;” last year he won for “Gravity.”

Graham Moore won best adapted screenplay for  “The Imitation Game,” and used his acceptance speech to make a plea for gay rights. Patricia Arquette, whose mother is Jewish, won best supporting actress for her role in “Boyhood.”

The evening’s “In Memoriam” segment, devoted to film industry notables who died over the past year, included Israeli filmmaker Menachem Golan, director Mike Nichols and actress Lauren Bacall. Many writers and people on Twitter were outraged that longtime red carpet hostess Joan Rivers was not mentioned. — jta