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Israel takes home an Oscar for film against racism

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JORDAN MOSHE

“I moved here five years ago from Israel,” he said in his acceptance speech, before adding in Hebrew, “Good night, Israel.”

In spite of the fact that Hollywood’s biggest night still lacks a host, celebrities assembled on the red carpet this past Sunday night for the 91st Academy Awards ceremony. A few hours into the night, Israel scooped its Oscar.

Nattiv and his wife, actress Jaime Ray Newman, were wreathed in smiles as they walked on stage to accept the award for their movie. A depiction of race-based conflict, Skin is an English-language bio-drama set in the United States. It is about a neo-Nazi skinhead who becomes enraged when he learns that his son is being treated kindly by a black man.

Citing the personal experiences of his family in the Holocaust, Nattiv said that the film was driven by the pressing need to learn about and address racism. “My grandparents are Holocaust survivors,” he said. “The bigotry that they experienced in the Holocaust, we see that everywhere today, in America, in Europe. This film is about education.” He concluded by expressing the hope that the film could show people how to teach their kids a better way.

The film was written by Nattiv with screenwriter Sharon Maymon, and was produced by Newman. She told the audience of celebrities that she and her husband “dedicate this to our five-month-old baby who’s sitting at home with my parents watching this. We hope that you grow up in a world where these things don’t happen, because people learn to love and accept each other”. They wished everyone in Israel layla tov, before heading off the stage.

In an interview with Israeli broadcaster KAN after his acceptance speech, Nattiv said his win was one for Israelis. “Israel – this is for you,” he said. “This film was made by Israelis, and its message is for Israel, and also for the United States, against racism.” Newman chimed in, “It’s for the whole world.”

Several other Jewish stars were up for nominations in various categories. These included Rachel Weisz, for supporting actress for her work in The Favourite; Marc Shaiman for his musical score in Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the classic Disney film; and Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson. Goransson took the Best Original Score award.

While Shaiman’s song, The Place Where Lost Things Go from the Poppins movie didn’t take the award for Best Original Song, the winning team which won the award for the song Shallow from A Star Is Born featured Jewish songwriter Marc Ronson.

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