Jews in the News: Patricia Arquette, Chuck Lore and Amy Sherman-Palladino

The Most Complete Golden Globe Guide for the Tribe

The 2020 Golden Globe awards will air on NBC on Jan. 5 at 8PM, EST. The very funny and very acerbic Ricky Gervais hosts. When he hosted in 2016, Gervais skewered Mel Gibson in a joke that referenced Gibson’s notorious 2006 anti-Semitic remarks.

ACTING: Lead actor, drama film: JOAQUIN PHOENIX, 45, “Joker” ; Lead actress, drama film: SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 35, “Marriage Story”; Lead actress, comedy film: BEANIE FELDSTEIN, 26, “Booksmart”; Lead actor, TV comedy series: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, 75, “The Kominsky Method”, ANDBEN PLATT, 26, “The Politician”, AND PAUL RUDD, 50, “Living with Yourself”; Lead actress, comedy series: NATASHA LYONNE, 40, “Russian Doll”; Lead actress: mini-series/TV movie: JOEY KING, 20, “The Act”; Lead actor, TV mini-series/movie: SACHA BARON COHEN, 48, “The Spy” (he played Israeli Mossad agent ELI COHEN); Supporting actor, TV series/mini-series/TV film: ALAN ARKIN, 85, “The Kominsky Method” AND HENRY WINKLER, 74,“Barry.” Supporting actress, TV series/mini-series/TV film: PATRICIA ARQUETTE, 51, “The Act”.

FYI: Arquette, Phoenix, and Johansson are children of Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. The latter two identify as Jewish, although they are virtually secular. Arquette is secular and doesn’t identify as anything in a religious sense.

DIRECTING/WRITING/MUSIC: Director, film (any genre): SAM MENDES, 54, “1917” AND TODD PHILLIPS, 49, “Joker”; Screenplay, film: NOAH BAUMBACH, 50, “Marriage Story” ; Original film score: RANDY NEWMAN, 76, “Marriage Story” (note: Randy’s first cousin, Thomas Newman, who was raised in his mother’s Christian faith, is also nominated for best score.)

BEST FILM awards: The best film and best TV awards are given to the principal producers. My practice is to note if a “best” nominee has a Jewish director or writer. They are usually nominated producers, too. Best drama film: “1917”, Sam Mendes (directed/wrote/produced) AND “Marriage Story”, Noah Baumbach (directed/wrote/produced) AND “Todd Phillips (directed, co-wrote, and produced.  The "Joker" co-writer is STEVE SILVER, 60ish); Best animated film “The Lion King”, JON FAVREAU, 54 (director, producer. The “Lion King” screenplay was written by JEFF NATHANSON, 54).  Best comedy/musical film: “Jo Jo Rabbitt”, TAIKA WAITITI, 44 (directed/wrote/co-starred).  

Special notes: Baumbach's father is Jewish and he identifies as Jewish. Mendes’ mother was Jewish and he’s secular. My inclusion of Waititi is unusual. All the other nominees listed here have at least one Jewish parent and all were raised Jewish or secular. In common terms, Waititi is 1/8 Jewish (his maternal great grandfather). However, both he and his mother (whose maiden name is "Cohen") identify as Jewish and “Jo Jo Rabbitt” is an anti-Nazi film. What really moved me was a Tweet he sent just before "Jo Jo" opened. Waititi plays Hitler in his film. He tweeted: “What better way to insult Hitler than having him portrayed by a Polynesian Jew?”

In light of rising anti-Semitism, if someone of influence, like Waititi, strongly allies himself with the Jewish people, and has some rational claim to being Jewish—maybe he should be “included”, or, at the very least, mentioned in an article like this.  

BEST TV AWARDS (except mini-series): Best TV drama series: “The Crown”, PETER MORGAN, 56 (created series, produced and wrote); Best comedy/musical TV series: “The Kominsky Method”, CHUCK LORRE, 67 (writer, producer, series creator) AND “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO, 54 (series creator, writer, producer); AND “The Politician”, BRAD FALCHUK, 54 (series co-creator and producer). Note: Morgan’s German Jewish fled to England. His mother wasn’t Jewish. Morgan is secular.

Best TV mini-series: All five nominated series have a Jewish connection.  “Chernobyl”, CRAIG MAZIN, 48 (series creator, writer, producer); “Fosse/Verdon”, STEVEN LEVENSON, 35 (co-created and co-wrote series); “Unbelievable”, AYELET WALDMAN, 54, and MICHAEL CHABON, 56 (this wife-husband team co-produced and co-wrote the series); Catch-22”, GRANT HESLOV, 56 (co-producer and co-director); “Loudest Voice in the Room”, and GABRIEL SHERMAN, 40 (produced series, wrote some episodes); Note: Sherman wrote the book his series was based upon and “Catch 22” is based on a novel by the late JOSEPH HELLER.

The Oldest Man is Jewish

On Dec. 20, IRVING PIKEN celebrated his 111th birthday. He is now the oldest living man in the United States and, yes, he’s still quite mentally sharp. Census records show he was born in Brooklyn in 1908, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. Brooklyn Law School just congratulated him on his birthday, noting he’s their oldest living grad (class of 1930). He has been a life-long Dodgers fan and has honored by the team at Dodger Stadium. Piken, a retired bank president, moved to Southern California in 1977.



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