Israel’s Gal Gadot takes center stage at Academy Awards

Nazi satire wins best-adapted screenplay.

By AP and World Israel News Staff 

Israeli actress Gal Gadot took center stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday as one of the presenters.

“In proof that the MCU crew and DC Comics clan can get along, ‘Captain Marvel’s’ Brie Larson joined forces with ‘Wonder Woman’s’ Gal Gadot on the Academy Awards stage. With them was Sigourney Weaver, whom Gadot said ‘paved the way’ for her and Larson to step into their superhero roles,” said entertainment website Refinery29. 

It happened on a night when Bong Joon Ho’s satire “Parasite” made history when it became the first non-English language film ever to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.

“Parasite” took Hollywood’s top prize on Sunday night, along with awards for best director, best international film and best screenplay. In a year dominated by period epics — “1917,” “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood,” “The Irishman” — the film academy instead went overseas, to South Korea, to reward a contemporary and unsettling portrait of social inequality in “Parasite.”

True to its name, “Parasite” simply got under the skin of Oscar voters, attaching itself to the American awards season and, ultimately, to history. The win was a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has long been content to relegate international films to their own category. But in recent years, to diversify its membership, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited many more overseas voters.

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The victory for “Parasite” — which had echoes of the surprise win by “Moonlight” over “La La Land” three years ago — came in a year when many criticized the lack of diversity in the nominees and the absence of female filmmakers. But the triumph for “Parasite,” the Palme d’Or-winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, enabled Hollywood to flip the script and signal progress, nevertheless. No Korean film had ever won an Oscar before.

There were milestones beyond “Parasite.” In winning best-adapted screenplay for his Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. He dedicated the award to “all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories.”

“We are the original storytellers,” Waititi said.

Adam Sandler was snubbed by the Academy Awards for his movie “Uncut Gems,” in which he portrays Jewish character Howard Ratner, a diamond dealer in New York City.  The movie, however, led all films with three trophies at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, including best performance by a male actor for Sandler, best director for Josh and Ben Safdie, and best editing.

“As I look around this room, I realize the Independent Film Spirit Awards are the Best Personality Awards,” Sandler joked, as he accepted the honor. Referring to the Oscar nominees he said, “Their handsome good looks will fade in time, while our independent personalities will shine on forever.”

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