Israeli Oscar winner promises to bring award to Israel
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Israeli Oscar winner promises to bring award to Israel

President Rivlin, ministers and lawmakers fete Guy Nattiv, whose movie wins Academy Award for best live action short film

Best Live Action Short Film winners for 'Skin' director Guy Nattiv, left,  and Jaime Ray Newman attend the 91st Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. (Robyn BECK/AFP)
Best Live Action Short Film winners for 'Skin' director Guy Nattiv, left, and Jaime Ray Newman attend the 91st Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. (Robyn BECK/AFP)

Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv, whose short film “Skin” on Sunday won the Academy Award for best live action short film, said he will bring the cherished golden statuette to Israel because his movie is “half Israeli.”

Congratulations from senior Israeli officials flooded in after Nattiv won the Oscar along with his wife, actress Jaime Ray Newman, and co-writer and fellow Israeli Sharon Maymon.

Speaking to Channel 12 news via video link from the award ceremony after-party, Nattiv stressed the movie’s heritage.

“We will bring the prize to Israel for everyone because this film is half-Israeli,” he said. “We are Israeli producers and this film was made by Israelis.”

At the ceremony, as he accepted the award, Nattiv noted his Israeli background.

“Oh my God, I moved here five years ago from Israel,” Nattiv said on the stage and then switched to Hebrew. “Laila tov, Yisrael (Good night, Israel),” he said.

President Reuven Riviln congratulated Nattiv in a statement Monday.

“Dear Guy, all credit for ‘Skin’ goes to you, Sharon and Jaime Ray, but the movie is a gift to our children and grandchildren and for the future we wish for them. Proud to be Israeli! Mazal Tov!”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein tweeted, “Warm congratulations to Guy Nattiv on his winning an Oscar! I heard Guy speak excitedly this morning about the Israeli production and the great achievement for Israel, and we are all excited with him. Great pride!”

“Good morning Guy Nattiv,” tweeted Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. “You have brought great honor to us and all of Israel at the Oscar ceremony. An exciting and inspiring moment. I hope that many more Israeli children will follow in your footsteps and continue to produce quality groundbreaking cinema for us and the whole world.”

Transportation Minister Israel Katz also welcomed the achievement, tweeting, “Guy, you made us very proud. Thank you.”

Other lawmakers tweeted congratulations Monday morning as Israelis woke up and heard news of the win.

Nattiv, who grew up in Israel and now lives in Los Angeles, also spoke of his pride in being an Israeli filmmaker.

“I am Israeli, all my creativity comes from the place I grew up in, and I am very proud to be an Israeli here and to present this film. I think we have amazing cinema in Israel,” he told Army Radio, describing the film as “half-Israeli and half-American.”

“The brains behind ‘Skin’ are completely Israeli,” he said.

Nattiv surmised that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, was drawn to his film’s messages about racism and gun control. He has credited his Holocaust survivor grandparents for the motivation for the film on race relations.

The 20-minute film, about a gang war that breaks out in a small town after a black man smiles at a white child at a supermarket, has been developed into a full-length feature by the same name, also directed by Nattiv.

“It is surreal,” he told Army Radio. “We weren’t the favorite, we were behind a Canadian film, but apparently the academy gave consideration to the statement against racism…gun control and just everything that is hurting in this country at the moment.

“More and more we are seeing neo-Nazism and actual Nazism in the US and in Europe,” he explained. “In the US, there are broad parties of neo-Nazism,” he said.

“It is a very worrying phenomenon, and by the way it is not just against Jews, it is also against African-Americans and against foreigners in general, and that ties into what what my grandfather and grandmother went through in those dark days many years ago.”

Nattiv said that although in New York and Los Angeles racism is not so prominent, outside of the main cities it becomes more common.

“You start to see a confederate flag, you begin to understand what white racism really is. How much hatred there is in the backyard of America, and it has already become halfway into the front yard of America.”

For your consideration. Skin. Short. Trailer.

Posted by SKIN SHORT FILM A film by Guy Nattiv, Jaime Ray Newman and Sharon Maymon on Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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