All that was Jew-ish about the 2018 Academy Awards
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And The Winner Was

All that was Jew-ish about the 2018 Academy Awards

Aside from a gleaming Gal Gadot, this year's Oscars marked a dull finish to a dramatic year focused on elevating the treatment of women in Hollywood

Host Jimmy Kimmel, left, and Gal Gadot appear on screen via satellite at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Host Jimmy Kimmel, left, and Gal Gadot appear on screen via satellite at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The 2018 Oscars wrapped up a dramatic awards season that has brought gender diversity and equality to the forefront of Hollywood.

In a show not notable for any major Jewish wins, Sunday night’s 90th Academy Awards were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel who returned for the second time in a row to redeem the event after last year’s “Envelopegate” in which an incorrect winner was originally announced for best picture.

“This year, when you hear your name called,” Kimmel warned potential winners, “don’t get up right away.”

While “Call Me By Your Name,” a film rich with Jewish themes, and Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” were this year’s best bets for prominent Jewish films to star at the Oscars, both fell short.

Timothee Chalamet arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“Call Me By Your Name” is an adaption of Jewish novelist Andre Aciman’s book following a romance between young Jewish men in 1980s Italy.

The film garnered four nominations, including for best picture and lead actor for Timothée Chalamet’s (who’s also Jewish) performance.

The film’s screenwriter James Ivory did take home the award for best adaption for a screenplay, making him the oldest Oscar winner ever at age 89.

Instead, with 13 nominations, Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” was the big winner of the evening, scooping the awards for best picture, director, production design and original score. Top acting honors went  to Gary Oldman for “Darkest Hour” and Frances McDormand in“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

There were two official Jewish winners: Director Bryan Fogel’s film, “Icarus,” won for best documentary. The film — now on Netflix — is the story of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping scandal.

Fogel’s previous work, “Jewtopia,” is a comedic play-turned-film and book adaptation on the art of dating Jewish women.

Jewish director Lee Unkrich also accepted the Oscar for best animated feature film for “Coco.”

Gal Gadot wins by showing up

Israeli “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot needed no nomination to come out a winner of the evening.

After shimmering down the red carpet in a silver and sequined gown, Gadot presented the award for best makeup and hairstyling alongside actor Armie Hammer.

In one of Kimmel’s bits from the evening, he assembled a group of celebrities, including Gadot, to surprise real movie-goers watching a film in a theater.

“We brought you some goodies,” Gadot said as the audience applauded. “This is so much better than the Oscars!”

In June Gadot was admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in what seemed like a move to diversify the predominantly white male membership

Oscars so less white

In between crowning this year’s big winners, Kimmel highlighted the need to continue fighting for greater gender diversity and equality in Hollywood.

“Here’s how clueless Hollywood is about women. We made a movie called ‘What Women Want’ and it starred Mel Gibson. Kind of all you need to know,” Kimmel joked in his opening remarks.

“But what happened with Harvey, and what’s happening all over, was long overdue. We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore,” he said.

In October, the Academy expelled Harvey Weinstein after numerous accusations of rape and sexual assault surfaced against the Hollywood producer.

The New York Times reporter that broke the story, Jodi Kantor, attended this year’s awards show. The Jewish journalist said she was there to “bear witness to what has changed and ask what hasn’t.”

The Oscars devoted a segment to fighting sexual harassment in Hollywood.  Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra — three of the women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct — stood on stage together to introduce a video montage highlighting women’s voices in the industry.

Ashley Judd, from left, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek speak at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Before his banishment from the film academy, Weinstein had been a fixture at the Oscars for the last two decades. By one study’s findings, Weinstein was thanked more often than God in acceptance speeches.

This year’s Oscars embodied the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements as a culmination of efforts to create a new reality for women in Hollywood.

But unlike the Golden Globes, where attendees wore black in solidarity against sexual misconduct, Time’s Up was not the main event.

“It’s still a joyous occasion and we’re here to celebrate — and it’s something to celebrate, how much this movement has grown in less than six months,” said #MeToo founder Tarana Burke on the red carpet.

Ultimately, this year’s Academy Awards marked a surprisingly ordinary return to the glitz and glam of previous years, showing that fixing Hollywood’s deeply embedded diversity issues will require more than just pointing them out.

Here is a full list of the night’s big winners.

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