Jean-Luc Godard and his honorary Oscar: Does it matter if he’s an anti-Semite?

Jean-Luc Godard, who’s getting an honorary Oscar on Nov. 13, is suddenly back in the news, although not with the sort of media attention likely to burnish his image. Last month, the Jewish Journal put Godard on its cover, asking the provocative question: “Is Jean-Luc Godard an Anti-Semite?” And now, Tuesday’s New York Times has a front page story examining the controversial honorary Oscar, describing what it calls “a simmering debate over whether Mr. Godard, an avowed anti-Zionist and advocate for Palestinian rights, is also anti-Jewish.”

For me, the most fascinating part of the Times story, penned by Michael Cieply, was what wasn’t in it. For all the supposed hubbub, there wasn’t a complaint about the award from anyone in Hollywood. Even producer Mike Medavoy, who took issue with Godard’s “narrow mind” toward Jews, said he was “fine with” Godard getting an award. The only person taking issue with the award was an executive at B’nai B’rith International, who argued that Hollywood had established standards for art but not for decency or morality.


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