Jews in the News: Patricia Arquette, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Ben Stiller

The Tribe Goes to the Emmys: 2019 Edition

 The Primetime Emmys, for excellence in TV, will be presented, on Fox, on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8PM (EDT). There will be no host.  The number of categories (27) is a record and many categories now have more than the “traditional” 5 nominees. Here are the confirmed Jewish nominees.


 Lead actor, comedy series: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, 74,“The Kominsky Method”, and EUGENE LEVY, 72 “Schitt’s Creek”; Lead actress, comedy series: NATASHA LYONNE, 40 “Russian Doll”; Lead actress, limited series or TV movie: PATRICIA ARQUETTE, 51, “Escape from Dannemora”, and JOEY KING, 20, “The Act”; Supporting actor, comedy series: HENRY WINKLER, 73 “Barry”, and ALAN ARKIN, 85, “The Kominsky Method”. Arkin and Winkler compete with Tony Shalhoub, who isn’t Jewish, but is nominated for playing a Jewish character in “The Amazing Mrs. Maisel”; Supporting actress, comedy series: ALEX BORSTEIN, 48, “Mrs. Maisel” and SARAH GOLDBERG, 34, “Barry”. Borstein and Goldberg compete with Marin Hinkle, who isn’t Jewish, but plays a Jewish character in “Mrs. Maisel”; Supporting actress, drama series: JULIA GARNER, 25, “Ozark”; Supporting actress, limited series: Patricia Arquette (whose late mother was Jewish), “The Act.” Arquette played Joey King’s mother.

Notes: (1) Although most of the major characters in “Maisel” are Jewish, Alex Borstein is nominated for playing a non-Jewish character. (2) I think Michael Douglas, who won a 2019 Golden Globe for “Kominsky,” will get the Emmy. But I see Tony Shalhoub edging out Henry Winkler (who won last year) and Alan Arkin.

Directing, Writing

The directing and writing awards cite a specific episode, which I have omitted.

Director, comedy series: AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO, 53; “Mrs. Maisel”; Director, drama series: DAVID BENIOFF and D. B. WEISS, both 48, “Game of Thrones”, and MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK, 45, “Game of Thrones”; Director, limited series, movie, or dramatic special: BEN STILLER, 53 , “Escape from Dannemora” and STEPHEN FREARS, 78, “A Very English Scandal”; Director, Variety Series: SACHA BARON COHEN, 47, NATHAN FIEDLER, 35, and DAN MAZER, 47, are nominated as co-directors of an episode of “Who is America?; Writing, comedy series: Natasha Lyonne, co-writer of an episode of “Russian Doll”; and ALLISON SILVERMAN, 47, writing (alone) another “Russian Doll” episode; and DAVID H. MANDEL, 49, “Veep”; Writing, drama series: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “Game of Thrones”; and BRUCE MILLER, 54ish, for co-writing a “The Handmaid’s Tale” episode. Writing, limited series or movie: CRAIG MAZIN, 48, “Chernobyl”; and MICHAEL TOLKIN, 68, co-writer, “Escape from Dannemora”; and STEVEN LEVENSON, 35, co-writer of “Fosse/Verdon”.

Notes: (1) Natasha Lyonne’s acting and writing nominations are wonderful “ratifications” of her amazing comeback. She had a pretty hot career in the late ‘90s, but she fell into substance abuse and seemed on a terminal slide in 2004-5 (arrests, etc.). She has totally cleaned-up her act and gradually re-built her career. (2) Michael Tolkin’s father, MEL TOLKIN (1913-2007), was a great, Emmy winning comedy writer who wrote for everybody big in his era (SID CAESAR, DANNY KAYE, JERRY LEWIS, Bob Hope).

Best Series/Movie Categories

 The “best” awards are normally given to the producers of the nominated program. My practice is to list the nominated series or movie that have a Jewish creator or co-creator. Usually they are a nominated producer, too.

Comedy Series: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, created by LARRY DAVID, 72; and “Glow”, co-created by Liz Flahive and CARLY MENSCH, 36ish; and “Silicon Valley”, co-created by Mike Judge, JOHH ALTSCHULER, 56, and DAVE KRINSKY, 56; Drama Series: “Game of Thrones,” created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (above); and “The Americans”, created by JOE WEISBERG, 50ish; and “The Crown”, created by PETER MORGAN, 56; and “The Handmaid’s Tale”, created by Bruce Miller (above); and “This is Us”, created by DAN FOGELMAN, 43; Variety Sketch Series: “Drunk History,” co-created by Derek Waters and JEREMY KONNER, 39ish; and “I Love You, America,” created by SARAH SILVERMAN, 48; Limited Series: “Chernobyl”, created by Craig Mazin (above); and “Fosse/Verdon”, created by Steven Levenson (above) and Thomas Kail;  and “Escape at Dannemora”, co-created by Michael Tolkin (above) and Brett Johnson; TV movie: “Deadwood: The Movie”, written by DAVID MILCH, 74, the creator of the Deadwood series.

Notes: (1) Craig Mazin was Senator Ted Cruz’s roommate when they both were freshmen at Princeton. He didn’t like Ted then and he doesn’t like him now. He frequently makes fun of him on Twitter. (2) Thanks to a couple of interview “clues” and family history records, I confirmed this year that Carly Mensch and Bruce Miller, who have been nominated before, are Jewish. Mensch’s paternal grandfather had the ‘most Jewish’ name ever: Israel Mensch!. Miller won a writing Tony in 2017 and “Handmaiden” won the best drama Emmy. However, in 2017 it did not have to compete with “Game of Thrones”, which had been on hiatus. In the near future, I’ll relay more info about Miller, a very talented fellow.


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