Jews in the News: Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and Michael Douglas

WOODY ALLEN, 78, is this year's recipient of the honorary Cecil DeMille Award, for lifetime achievement. There was a little drama last September when the award was announced: would Allen personally accept the Demille on stage? Allen has been nominated for a combined total of 36 Oscars and Globes, winning six. Only once has he made an award stage personal appearance—in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, he went to the 2002 Oscars ceremony and appeared on-stage to introduce a tribute film to New York City.


The drama ended last month when it was revealed that Diane “Annie Hall” Keaton, Woody's great pal, would accept the DeMille on his behalf.


In my last column, I listed the Jewish nominees except those in the acting categories. Here are those Globe acting nominees:


Film nominee: JOAQUIN PHOENIX, 39,“Her”; TV Nominees: best actress, drama: JULIANNA MARGULIES, 47, “The Good Wife”: best actor, drama, LIEV SCHREIBER, 46, “Ray Donovan”; best actress, comedy: LENA DUNHAM, 27,”Girls”; best actor, comedy, ANDY SAMBERG, 35,“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; best actor mini-series, movie: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, 69, “Behind the Candelabra”; best supporting actor, series, mini-series, or TV movie: JOSH CHARLES, 42, “The Good Wife”--and-- COREY STOLL, 37, House of Cards”.


At the Movies: “Lone Survivor” and “Her”


These two films got a very limited release late in December. They open in most cities on Friday, January 10. But flicks were praised by most critics.


“Lone Survivor” is about a (real) 2005 Navy SEAL mission whose aim was to capture or kill a Taliban leader. Three of the four Seals who went on the (first phase) of the mission were killed. Mark Wahlberg plays the one surviving Seal. The others are played by BEN FOSTER, 33, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch (Hirsch isn't Jewish, by the way. His last name stems from his only Jewish grandparent. )


“Survivor” director PETER BERG, 51, also wrote the script. Berg, a former actor, is best known for his film “Hancock” and “Friday Night Lights” (both the original movie and the TV series of the same name.


Nice note: recently I viewed a local TV interview with the brother of Matthew Axelson, the Navy Seal whom Foster plays in “Survivor”. He said that Foster captured his brother's “reality” as well as anybody could have. Foster, by the way, is now filming a bio-pic about Lance Armstrong in which he plays Armstrong.



“Her” stars Joaquin Phoenix 39, as Theodore Twombly, a soulful man who makes a living writing heartfelt personal letters for others. After a bad break-up, he comes across a new computer operating system with a female voice called “Samantha” (voiced by SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 28). Twobly is delighted when Samantha's programming allows her be intuitive, insightful, and even funny. Their 'friendship' grows into love.


Directed by SPIKE JONZE, 44, “Her” is the first film he has written alone. It is a top contender for Golden Globes and Oscars, like his three prior feature films (“Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation” and “Where the Wild Things Are”).


As noted above, Phoenix was Globe nominated for his “Her” performance. There was a mini-campaign to get Johansson a nomination, too. But the Globes board refused to even consider a voice-only role for an acting nomination.


Ghost Writers in the Sky


Last month, actor SHIA LABEOUF, 27, admitted he grossly plagiarized the work of novelist and screenwriter DANIEL CLOWES, 52. A short film (“Howard Cantour”) that the actor wrote and released on-line in early December was quickly identified as being very much like a 2007 comic written by Clowes. Clowes is best known for his graphic novel, “Ghost World,” which was turned into a hit 2001 movie of the same name. Clowes got an Oscar nomination for his “Ghost World” screenplay.


Many on-line critics found LaBeouf's apology inadequate and piled-on in social media. So, on New Year's Day, LaBeouf hired a plane to fly above Los Angeles and skywrite, “I am sorry Daniel Clowes.” However, this stunt didn't stifle all critics: some said it looked like LaBeouf just wanted more publicity, while others pointed out that Clowes lives in San Francisco.


I suppose these two guys, both Jewish, could turn their dispute over to a rabbinical court. Or they could refer it to the Screen Actors Guild union credit panel. Most Guild panels would have almost as many Jewish members as a rabbinical court.


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