Godard’s hononary Oscar raises charges of anti-semitism

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LOS ANGELES — Late last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was still coming to terms with that most deeply confounding of European filmmakers, Jean-Luc Godard.

No one had yet signed on to present an honorary Oscar to Mr. Godard, who has said he will not be on hand anyway at the academy’s awards banquet in Hollywood a week from Saturday. But there was also the touchy question of how to deal with newly highlighted claims that Mr. Godard, a master of modern film, has long harbored anti-Jewish views that threaten to widen his distance from Hollywood, even as the film industry’s leading institution is trying to close the gap.

Over the last month, articles in the Jewish press — including a cover story titled “Is Jean-Luc Godard an Anti-Semite?” in The Jewish Journal — have revived a simmering debate over whether Mr. Godard, an avowed anti-Zionist and advocate for Palestinian rights, is also anti-Jewish. And this close examination of his posture toward Jews has put a shadow over plans by the academy to honor him at the Nov. 13 banquet, along with the actor Eli Wallach, the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and the film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow. (The separate Oscar telecast is scheduled for Feb. 27, on ABC.)

The academy is doing its best to sidestep the issue. For one thing, don’t look for the touchier aspects of Mr. Godard’s work in the five-minute tribute reel being assembled around New Wave masterpieces. Probably missing will be a much-discussed sequence in the 1976 documentary “Here and There,” about the lives of two families, one French and one Palestinian. In it, alternating images of Golda Meir and Adolf Hitler have suggested to some that Mr. Godard, the narrator and one of the directors of the film, sets them up as equivalents.

“I can imagine it might not be there,” Sidney Ganis, who is producing the ceremony, said on Friday. He also said he had a prospect in mind to present the award.

Full story: Godard’s Hononary Oscar Raises Charges of Anti-Semitism – NYTimes.com