Jews in the News: Larry David, Lorne Michaels and Maya Rudolph

L'Shanah Tova!, Y'All.

The Tribe at the Emmys: 2018 Edition

The Primetime Emmy awards will be televised, live, on NBC on Monday, Sept. 17, at 7PM CDT.  I think it’s useful to note that number of nominees in most categories was expanded in 2017 and while the number of Jewish nominees has risen, so has their competition.

Here are the Jewish nominees in the categories that will be presented at the Primetime Emmy awards.

Lead actor, comedy: LARRY DAVID, 71, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: Lead actress, comedy: PAMELA ADLON, 52, “Better Things” AND TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, 45, “Black-ish”; Lead actress, drama: EVAN RACHEL WOOD, 30, “Westworld”; Supporting actor, comedy: HENRY WINKLER, 72, “Barry”; Supporting actress, comedy: ALEX BORSTEIN, 47, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Supporting actor, drama: MANDY PATINKIN, 65, “Homeland”; Supporting actor, limited series/TV movie: MICHAEL STUHLBARG, 50,  “The Looming Tower”;  Supporting actress, limited series/movie: JUDITH LIGHT, 69,  “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.

Borstein, whose mother is a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, was offered a starring role in the “Gilmore Girls” in 2000 but had to pass due to a prior commitment. However, the creator of “Gilmore Girls,” AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO, 52, liked Borstein enough that when she created “Mrs. Maisel” she gave Borstein a juicy supporting part.  Against the odds, this comedy about a “very” Jewish woman and her family has become the surprise hit of 2018 and Borstein is, as they say, sitting pretty.

It’s ironic that Michael Stuhlbarg is nominated for playing a real non-Jewish character (Richard Clarke, a top George W. Bush security official). In the last decade, he has played a raft of fictional and real-life Jews without getting an Emmy or Oscar nomination (the real life ones are gangster ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN, producer LEW WASSERMAN, and NY Times editor ABE ROSENTHAL).

Also nominated are non-Jewish thespians Tony Shalhoub (best supporting actor, comedy) and Rachel Brosnahan (best lead actress, comedy). Brosnahan plays the title role in “Mrs. Maisel.” She explains that she could play a Jewish woman so authentically because she grew-up in a heavily Jewish Chicago suburb. Shalhoub plays Abe Weissman, Mrs. Maisel's Jewish father. This isn’t the first Jewish role for Shalhoub, who is of Lebanese Christian background.

Director, comedy: JESSE PERETZ, 50, “Glow” AND Amy Sherman-Palladino, 52, “Mrs. Maisel”; Director, drama: JEREMY PODESWA, 55, “Game of Thrones” AND  DANIEL SACKHEIM, 60ish, “Ozark”; Director, Variety Special: GLENN WEISS, 57, “The Oscars”; Directing, limited series/TV Movie: SCOTT FRANK, 58, “Godless” (he also wrote the series) AND CRAIG ZISK, 68, “The Looming Tower” AND BARRY LEVINSON, 76, “Paterno”. (Note: the writing and directing awards cite a specific episode, which I have omitted.)

As I’ve noted before, Frank had a pastor character recite what seemed to be a prayer in the last scene of his Western series “Godless”. Actually, the prayer was a poem (‘Tis a Fearful Thing”) by JUDAH HA-LEVI (1075-1141), the famous Spanish Jewish physician, poet, and philosopher.

Writing, comedy: Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel”; Writing, drama: JOE WEISBERG, 52, “The Americans” AND PETER MORGAN, 55, The Crown” AND DAVID BENIOFF and D.B. WEISS, both 47, “Game of Thrones”; Writing, limited series/TV movie: Scott Frank, “Godless.”

The Outstanding (or “best”) series awards go to the series’ principal producers, of whom there are many. My practice is to list the “best of” series that have a Jewish creator or co-creator (who is usually a producer, too).

Outstanding Comedy Series: Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, AND Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel,” AND JOHN ALTSCHULER, 55, with DAVE KRINSKY, 55, “Silicon Valley.” Outstanding Drama Series: Joe Weisberg, “The Americans” AND Peter Morgan, “The Crown” AND David Benioff with D.B. Weiss,  “Game of Thrones” AND DAN FOGELMAN, 39, “This is Us”.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series” SARAH SILVERMAN, 47, “I Love You America, with Sarah Silverman” AND CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, 43, “Portlandia” AND LORNE MICHAELS, 73, “Saturday Night Live.” Outstanding Limited Series: NOAH PINK, 35ish, “Genius: Picasso” AND Scott Frank, “Godless”. 

The number of Emmy categories has grown so much that some categories have been moved to the Creative Arts ceremony (which also includes technical categories.)  The “Creatives” will be broadcast on cable station FXX on Sept. 15 at 8PM EDT. Here are some of the notable Jewish “Creative” nominees.

Outstanding TV movie: JENNIFER FOX, 59 (writer), “The Tale” AND DEBORA CAHN, 47, (writer) “Paterno”. Outstanding Informational Series: the late ANTHONY BOURDAIN, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”; Outstanding Documentary: BRYAN FOGEL, 50ish, “Icarus” AND JUDD APATOW, 50, “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling”. Outstanding Guest Actress, Comedy Series: TIFFANY HADDISH, 38, “Saturday Night Live” AND MAYA RUDOLPH, 46, “The Good Place”; Outstanding Narrator: CARL REINER, 96, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” AND LIEV SCHREIBER, 50, “24/7”.


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