And the award goes to…NJ – Garden State hits big at the Oscars

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EDISON -

Several of the winners of the 2019 Academy Awards had ties to New Jersey.

“BlacKkKlansman,” which won the award for best adapted screenplay, was written by two former East Brunswick High School students.

David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel graduated from the school in 2005 and became writing partners. Their script was based on the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. It was directed by Spike Lee, who also has a script credit.

“We were going crazy,” says East Brunswick High School film teacher Jack Cibrian. "It's amazing…we've been so proud. Well first since the movie came out."


The best picture and best screenplay winner “Green Book” also has ties to New Jersey. The movie is based on the life of late New Jersey actor Frank Anthony Vallelonga, Sr. He was otherwise known as “Tony Lip.” The film is about Vallelonga’s friendship with musician Don Shirley as he toured the segregated South. Vallelonga's son, Nick, co-wrote the screenplay.

Vallelonga's son Frank Jr. owns the Franklin Lakes restaurant Tony Lip's, where an Oscar night party was held Sunday night to celebrate the awards.

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