LOS ANGELES (JTA) — If a Jewish cabal supposedly runs Hollywood, it sure did a lousy job promoting its own for Academy Award nominations.
Where in past years one could at least count on a Steven Spielberg film or a Holocaust documentary to provide Jewish flavor, this year the pickings were slim when the Oscar hopefuls were announced Tuesday.
However, there were three consolation prizes:
Alan Arkin received an Oscar nomination in the Supporting Actor category for his role as Grandpa, the heroin-snorting, womanizing family patriarch in “Little Miss Sunshine.”
The 72-year-old actor, director, author and musician holds the distinction of having been nominated for an Oscar in his very first screen appearance in 1966 in “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.”
Two years later he was nominated again for his role in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”
In a past interview, Arkin observed, “Well, I’ve always been a character actor, I’ve never been a leading man. It gave me an opportunity not to have to take my clothes off all the time.”
Despite a flood of shrewd publicity, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” won only one nomination for the faux journalist’s creator, Sacha Baron Cohen.
The British comedian was named in the Adapted Screenplay category — who knew there even was a screenplay? — along with co-writers Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer.
And finally there’s the real dark-horse nomination of “West Bank Story” in the Short Film-Live Action category.
Director Ari Sandel tags his work as “A little singing, a little dancing, a lot of hummus.”
A review in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles two years ago lauded “the very funny film featuring an all-singing, all-dancing cast. In it, the Israeli boy and the Palestinian girl join hands and hearts to settle a bitter rivalry between their families’ competing West Bank falafel stands.’‘
In the documentary feature category, Israel’s “Storm of Emotions,” chronicling the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, had been among the top 15 choices but did not make the final cut of five.
In the same category, however, American Jewish filmmakers made a good showing, among them Davis Guggenheim for “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s global warming warning that was produced by activist Laurie David — wife of TV personality and writer Larry David.
Other nominated documentary filmmakers are Amy Berg for “Deliver Us From Evil,” about pedophilia charges against Catholic priests, and “Jesus Camp’’ by Rachel Grady.