Sisterhood Blog

At the Oscars, Golda's Biographer Pulls a Kanye West

By Gal Beckerman

  • Print
  • Share Share

In an Oscars ceremony that seemed languid at times and straight up bizarre at others (interpretive breakdancing?!), one moment stood out as one of the more dramatic of the evening. If you were watching, you know what I’m talking about: the woman who pulled a Kanye. Well, it turns out — doesn’t it always — that there is a Jewish connection, and a pretty funny one given the circumstances.

The winner for best documentary short went to “Music By Prudence,” a film about a group of Zimbabwean musicians. Its director, Roger Ross Williams, stepped up to the microphone to make his acceptance speech, got about 10 seconds into it, and was then, almost literally, shoved aside by a woman in a purple gown, saying “Let a woman talk!” Williams then stood there stunned, as the woman indeed talked until those telltale strains of orchestral music sounded and the show moved on.

The name of the woman, Elinor Burkett, didn’t register last night, but this morning I suddenly remembered where I had heard it before. Burkett is also an author, and last year I reviewed in the Forward a biography of Golda Meir that she wrote. The book, titled “Golda” was published in 2008 and — to quote myself — it is a “sympathetic but unapologetic” look at Israel’s first woman premier. I estimated at the time that Burkett had done a pretty good job giving us a more complex picture of Golda, one I described as presenting “a tragic, lonely, sickly figure, a terrible mother who cuckolded and neglected her husband, alienated her loved ones and often terrorized her closest friends.”

I certainly remember Burkett’s Golda coming off as an extraordinarily strong-willed woman who could more than hold her own as she climbed the ranks of the Zionist leadership, pushing aside friends and lovers who got in her way.

Now we don’t know the backstory of what happened in those few seconds last night — and it sounds pretty tangled — but there was definitely a strong will on display and certainly shoving.

Salon actually interviewed both Burkett and Williams after the show and got a mouthful of post mortem from both. The feud between them is now new. Here’s what Burkett had to say:

What happened was the director and I had a bad difference over the direction of the film that resulted in a lawsuit that has settled amicably out of court. But there have been all these events around the Oscars, and I wasn’t invited to any of them. And he’s not speaking to me. So we weren’t even able to discuss ahead of the time who would be the one person allowed to speak if we won. And then, as I’m sure you saw, when we won, he raced up there to accept the award. And his mother took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn’t get up there very fast.

But she did get up there eventually. As for Williams’ reaction, it basically boiled down to this: “She just ambushed me. I was sort of in shock.”

Forget Kanye. Williams should have known better than to mess with anyone familiar in the ways of Golda.

Watch the moment here:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Roger Ross Williams, Music By Prudence, Golda Meir, Elinor Burkett

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.