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Scene from 'Strangers No More'
Photo: Kirk Simon
Portman. First Oscar
Photo: Reuters
Film about Israeli school wins Oscar
'Strangers No More', film about Tel Aviv elementary school that has students from 48 different countries, gets Best Documentary Short Subject award. Israeli-born Natalie Portman earns Best Actress award
"Strangers No More," a film about a Tel Aviv elementary school that has students from 48 different countries – many wracked by genocide, war or famine – won for best documentary short subject at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night.

 

The American film, produced and directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, is 40 minutes long and examines the environment at the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv and the backgrounds of the children of foreign workers who for the most part, have come to Israel from countries suffering from poverty, hunger and political adversity.

  

Goodman, who accepted the award with Kirk, sent her regards to Tel Aviv from the stage and said that the southern Tel Aviv school was an expression of tolerance between human beings. The two were accompanied by the school's principal, Karen Tal.

 

"The King's Speech" was crowned best picture, with the monarchy drama leading as expected with four Oscars and predictable favorites claiming acting honors.

 

Colin Firth as stammering British ruler George VI in "The King's Speech" earned the best-actor prize Sunday, while Israeli-born Natalie Portman won best actress as a delusional ballerina in "Black Swan."


Kirk and Goodman accept award (Photo: Reuters)

 

The boxing drama "The Fighter" captured both supporting-acting honors, for Christian Bale as a boxer-turned-drug-abuser and Melissa Leo as a boxing clan's domineering matriarch.

 

"The King's Speech" also won the directing prize for Tom Hooper and the original-screenplay Oscar for David Seidler, a boyhood stutterer himself.

 

It was Portman's first win in two nominations and follows her supporting actress nomination for "Closer," which was made in 2004.

 

"Thank you so much. This is insane, and I truly, sincerely wish that the prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees. I'm so in awe of you," she said.


Bale, Portman, Leo and Firth (Photo: AP)

 

Portman, 29, who lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms) in the year she prepared for the film, is in the midst of a new transformation – she wore a deep purple off-the-shoulders dress on the red carpet to accommodate her growing baby bump.

 

In December, Portman and her fiance Benjamin Millepied, the choreographer of "Black Swan," announced that she was pregnant. They met on the set of the film, a psychological thriller that verges into horror territory, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

 

A former child star who made a memorable feature-film debut in 1994's hit man tale "The Professional," Portman grew up on screen, starring in her teens and early 20s as the tragedy-bound spouse of future evil overlord Darth Vader in George Lucas' second "Star Wars" trilogy and gracefully moving into adult roles, including 2004's "Closer," which brought her first Oscar nomination.

 

She is the only Israeli-born acting winner; the only other acting nominee born in Israel was Topol for "Fiddler on the Roof."

 

 


First published: 02.28.11, 09:57
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