Interfaith Noms for the 92nd Oscars

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson. Credit: Fox Searchlight

This year’s nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards include two actors and many off-camera creatives with interfaith roots or in interfaith relationships. Scarlett Johansson was nominated for both lead and supporting actress for her work in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, becoming the 12th acting double nominee in the same year. Raised in her mother’s Jewish faith (her father is Danish and Christian), she’s in an interfaith relationship herself: She got engaged to Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost last May.

Joaquin Phoenix, a best actor nominee for Joker, wasn’t raised Jewish, but his mother has Hungarian and Russian Jewish ancestry. Florence Pugh, who scored a supporting actress role for her portrayal of Amy March in Little Women, has been dating Jewish actor-director Zach Braff since April.

New Zealand native Taika Waititi, the son of a Maori father and Jewish mother in whose faith he was raised, didn’t get a nod for playing Adolf Hitler in JoJo Rabbit, but he scored nominations for Best Picture and his adapted screenplay. British director Sam Mendes, also Jewish on his mother’s side, was nominated for his direction, screenplay and Best Picture for 1917, which was nominated for 10 Oscars in all.

Noah Baumbach, who is Jewish on his father’s side, will compete against Mendes for both Best Picture and original screenplay for Marriage Story. His partner Greta Gerwig was recognized for her adapted screenplay. With Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood among the nine Best Picture nominees, British producer David Heyman is competing against himself in the Best Picture category. He has German-Jewish ancestry on his father’s side. Once Upon a Time director Quentin Tarantino, nominated for his direction and screenplay, is in an interfaith marriage with Israeli singer Daniella Pick, who is expecting their first child.

In the music categories, Thomas Newman, who has Russian-Jewish ancestry in his paternal line, is nominated for his score for 1917, his 14th recognition in the category. His cousin Randy Newman, a two-time Oscar winner, has two more chances to win this year, for his Marriage Story original score and “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” his song from Toy Story 4. Tune in February 9 on ABC to see who takes home the gold.

Julia Garner & Mark Foster
Julia Garner & Mark Foster. Credit: Instagram/@juliagarner94

Julia Garner, known for her roles in Dirty John, The Americans, Maniac and Ozark, for which she won an Emmy, married singer Mark Foster, front man of the band Foster the People. The daughter of an English, Scottish, Irish and German father and an Israeli mother of Polish and German-Jewish heritage, she was raised Jewish in New York. Ozark is set to return to Netflix March 27, but you can catch Garner on the big screen in The Assistant, opening January 31. She plays the title character, a young woman who endures abuse from a Harvey Weinstein-like employer. It opens January 31. Coming up, she has the role of a German heiress who stole cash and hearts in the Netflix series Inventing Anna.

Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller wrote and reported from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, The Nosher, Hadassah and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner in Israel and attended High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.


Author: Gerri Miller