was raised without religion.
around us. And there's Harvey, with his
exploration — a meditation really —
Incidentally, pretty actress Elizabeth
elbows sticking through his sleeves,
on a pet cemetery in Napa, Calif.
Banks, 28, who played Jeff Bridges' sec-
reading and reading because Jews are
Roger Ebert declared it one of the 10
ond wife in Seabiscuit, con-
supposed to be the 'People ,
best films ever made.
verted to Judaism last year
of the Book.' It's like, 'knowl-
Morris' most famo.us film, The
and married her Jewish col-
edge is golden but money,
Thin Blue Line, appeared a decade
lege sweetheart. Their Jewish
well, that will take care of
later. Morris never flatly asserted that
wedding is featured in this
the subject of the film, a Texas pris-
month's InSode magazine.
Finally, Pekar found Pulcini oner convicted for murder, was inno-
Apparently, her family
and Berman, who had
cent. However, the filmmaker raised
approves. Banks' mother
already established a reputa-
so many serious questions about the
sewed the chuppah, including
tion as top-notch documen-
validity of the prisoner's conviction, it
various mementos, like the
tary filmmakers. They took
caused the government to essentially
couple's college T-shirts.
the material and made it
admit it had made a mistake. The
Shari Sp ringer
Competing with Gary
work as well on the screen as
prisoner's life sentence was commut-
Ross for the Best Adapted
it does in comic-book form.
ed, and he was released.
Screenplay Oscar is Shari
Likewise, in 1999's Mr. Death: The
The Documentary Makers
Springer Berman, 38. She is the co-
Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leutcher,
director and co-screenwriter of
Errol Morris, 56, is nominated for
Morris used a light touch as he gradu-
American Splendor. She shares the
Best Documentary for The
ally revealed this
nomination with her husband, Robert Fog ofWar: Eleven Lessons
Holocaust denier's tech-
Pulcini, her co-director and co-writer
from the Life of Robert S.
nical incompetence and
(Pulcini is not Jewish).
The film was adapted from the
McNamara, who served
Some Jewish groups
autobiographical comic books of the
as defense secretary
thought Morris should
same title by Jewish writer Harvey
under Kennedy and
have hammered Leutcher
Pekar, a retired Cleveland file clerk.
Johnson, is given an
in a more polemic man-
Pulcini and Berman brilliantly
opportunity to explain
ner. This is not Morris'
brought Pekar's quirky but interesting
his actions — including
style, and he has bristled
personality to the screen. Splendor has
his pivotal role as an
at such criticism. When a.
landed on many critics' top-10 lists .
architect of the Vietnam
reporter for Philadelphia's
and has won a slew of other awards,
Jewish Exponent raised
including the 2003 Grand Jury Prize
Despite the critical
this point, Morris said,
at the Sundance Film Festival.
acclaim that's come his
"Let me make one thing
Pekar, aware that his financial situa-
way, Fog ofWar is Morris'
very clear; I'm proud to
tion was fairly perilous, had been try-
be a Jew.
ing since 1980 to bring his autobio-
Almost as unpleasant as Fred
graphical works to the screen.
Born on Long Island, he was work-
Leutcher is the Friedman family of
As his wife, Joyce Brabner — a char- ing on his doctorate in philosophy at
Long Island, the subject of Andrew
acter in the film — told the Jewish
U.C. Berkeley when he switched
Journal: "I'm supposed to be the bala-
gears and made his first documentary, tary, Capturing the Friedmans.
busta while the house is falling down
Gates of Heaven (1978), a brilliant
Jarecki, a co-founder of the popular
Post-Pop Art Poster
Jewish artist wins Oscar artwork commission.
The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh
urton Morris wants to thank the
Academy. He's not exactly sure
what he'll say in his speech yet,
but he knows he'll be walking down the
red carpet on Feb. 29, rubbing shoulders
with the best of Hollywood.
The Pittsburgh artist, who is Jewish and
known for his bold colors and iconic graph-
ics, was chosen to create the signature image
for the 76th annual Academy Awards.
Morris unveiled the image, which
incorporates the ideas of the Oscar stat-
Sunday, February 29, 2004 4*
ue, the paparazzi and
the red-carpet excite-
ment, last fall at the
Kodak Theatre in
Since then, the image
-- in Morris' recogniza-
ble "post-pop art style" — has
started to pop up everywhere,
from posters to billboards to
signs and advertisements.
"They chose me because
they wanted to do something
totally different than any-
thing they've done before,"
Morris said. "They wanted to
re-energize the Oscars."
Academy Awards officials
are hoping that Morris'
bright and upbeat image will
attract a younger, hipper
audience to watch the awards
Moviefone movie-listing service, sold
the company to AOL in 1999 and
decided to make a film about birthday
entertainers. His research led to a
meeting with David Friedman, one of
the most popular clowns in the New
York area. Friedman told Jarecki the
story of his affluent Jewish family's vir-
tual destruction — when Friedman's
father and brother were convicted, in
the late 1980s, for sexually molesting
children who attended computer class
at their home. Jarecki's film leaves view-
ers unsure about the Friedmans' guilt.
Also competing for Best Documentary
is My Architect, about the life of the
famous and highly influential Jewish
architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974).
Kahn is probably best known as the
architect of the Salk Institute in
California and for his master plan for
Dacca, the capitol of Bangladesh. The
film touches on the relationship between
Kahn's Jewish background and his work.
Kahn had an interesting private life.
In addition to a wife and daughter, he
had two much younger mistresses,
each of whom had a child by him. All
three families lived near each other
just outside Philadelphia.
Kahn's out-of-wedlock son,
Nathaniel Kahn, directed this biogra-
phy of his father's public and private
life. (For more on the film, which
opens March 5 in the Detroit area, see
next week's Detroit Jewish News).
The 76th Annual Academy
Awards airs 8:30 p.m. Sunday,
Feb. 29, on ABC.
show and get fans excited about it
"We've had our eye on Burton for a couple of
years," Academy Awards Executive Director Bruce
Davis said in a prepared statement. "We considered
asking him to do something for us last year, but the
75th anniversary seemed to demand a certain
solemnity. Burton Morris doesn't do solemn, so we
held off and turned him loose on this year's poster."
This isn't Morris' first brush with fame. His art-
work has been shown on the sets of the NBC tele-
vision shows Friends and just Shoot Me. Jennifer
Aniston and Courtney Cox are colleCtors.
He has also had shows at galleries around the
world and is the official artist for the U.S.
Olympics team at the 2004 Games in Athens,
Morris' Oscar artwork is available in the
form of a commemorative poster at