US/World News

‘La La Land’s Jewish composer nominated for Oscar

(JTA) – “La La Land” received a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations, including for its music written by a Jewish composer, and Jewish actors Natalie Portman and Andrew Garfield also were nominated. The Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning. “La La Land,” which is up for best picture, director, actor and actress, ties the mark set by “Titanic” and “All About Eve.”

Jewish composer Justin Hurwitz wrote the songs for the musical film, including “City of Stars,” which was nominated for the Oscar for best original song. Benj Pasek, who is Jewish, and Justin Paul wrote the lyrics. Director Damien Chazelle, who was a roommate with Hurwitz at Harvard, attended Hebrew school for four years though his parents are Catholic. They had become dissatisfied with their church Sunday school. “La La Land” won seven Golden Globes, including best original song for “City of Stars”, earlier this month.

Portman received a best actress nomination for her portrayal of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the film “Jackie,” and Garfield was tapped for best lead actor for his performance in the World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge.” Mel Gibson, who gained notoriety in the Jewish community for his antisemitic tirade during a 2006 traffic stop, was nominated for best director for “Hacksaw Ridge.” The first spinoff from the Harry Potter film series, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” featuring two Jewish characters, received nominations in costume design and production design. The Israeli film “Sand Storm” failed to make the cut last month to the nine semifinalists out of 85 in the best foreign language film category.

The Academy Awards ceremony will take place Feb. 26 in Los Angeles.

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