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Portman, Seidler Win Oscar Gold

Portman, Seidler Win Oscar Gold

Among the top winners at Sunday’s Academy Awards, Israel-born Natalie Portman, beaming and proudly pregnant, walked off with the best-actress trophy for her portrayal of a tortured ballerina in “Black Swan.”

“The King’s Speech” was named best picture, and Emile Sherman, scion of a prominent Australian Jewish family, accepted as one of the three producers.

Jewish writers swept the boards, with Britain’s David Seidler of “The King’s Speech” winning for original screenplay and Aaron Sorkin of “The Social Network” for adapted screenplay.

The 73-year old Seidler, like his film’s subject, grew up as a stutterer. His paternal grandparents perished in the Holocaust.

Danish director-writer Susanne Bier, who studied for two years at the Hebrew University and the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, took the best foreign-language film statuette for “In a Better World,” a story of conflicted family relationship.

Bier’s forebears fled persecution in Nazi Germany and Czarist Russia respectively, and she was raised in an observant Jewish home.

Israeli contenders in various categories were eliminated early on this year, but a short documentary on the work of the Bialik-Rogozin School in south Tel Aviv won in its category.

The film, “Strangers No More” by American filmmakers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman, chronicles the school’s devoted efforts to educate and integrate students from 48 countries.

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