Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jerry Seinfeld and Seth Rogen

The Emmys: An Award Marathon

The Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, held on Sept. 22, will feature a record number of categories (27). Even 27 awards aren’t enough to include categories that, in years past, would be “ready for Primetime”. Here are the Jewish, or Jewish-themed, “Creative Emmy” award nominees in what I consider important areas. The Creative Emmys are presented on Sept. 14 and 15 and an edited version of the “Creatives” ceremonies will air at 8PM on Sept. 21 (FXX).  The Primetime Emmy Jewish nominees will be covered in my next column.

Documentary filmmaking: “RGB,” a film about Justice RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 86, directed/produced by Betsey West and JULIE COHEN, 55; and “Divide and Conquer” The Story of Roger Ailes”; directed/produced by ALEXIS BLOOM, 44; and “Three Identical Strangers”, a film about Jewish triplets separated at birth.  The director is Tim Wardle; Documentary for TV: “Love, Gilda,” about the late comedy star GILDA RADNER. The director is Lisa DaPolito. Outstanding Informational Special or Series: “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”, hosted by the late ANTHONY BOURDAIN; and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, hosted by JERRY SEINFELD, 65; Animated Program: “Bojack Horseman”, created by RAPHAEL BOB-WAKSBERG, 35; and “Big Mouth,” created by NICK KROLL, 41, ANDREW GOLDBERG, 41, MARK LEVIN, 51, and (Mark’s wife) JENNIFER FLACKETT, 54; Short form comedy series: BILLY EICHNER, 40, “Billy on the Street”, and RANDY RAINBOW, 38, “The Randy Rainbow Show”; Guest actor, comedy series: ADAM SANDLER, 52, “Saturday Night Live”; Guest actress, comedy: MAYA RUDOLPH, 47,“The Good Place”; Actress, short form comedy or drama series: ILANA GLAZER, 32, and ABBI JACOBSON, 35, for “Hack into Broad City” and JESSICA HECHT, 54, for “Special”.

A Big Hand for the “Little” Guy

I know I speak for a lot of Jews and height-challenged guys when I say that it was really great to see Argentine Jewish tennis player DIEGO SCHWARTZMAN, 24, make the quarter finals last week at the U.S. Open. The 5’7” Schwartzman, whose nickname is “El peque” (“Shorty”), lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. But he gave Nadal, currently the best tennis player in the world, a very good match. At first it looked like a blow-out, but Schwartzman fought back and almost stole the first and second sets from Nadal. In the last three seasons, Schwartzman has emerged as a top player. He made the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2017 and he’s won three big tournament titles.

I enjoyed the fact that many Argentines were in the audience and when Schwartzman won a hard fought point, they stood up and chanted “ole!”. I thought to myself that the Jews in the audience (including BEN STILLER) quietly chanted “oy, vey” to themselves when Schwartzmann lost a hard fought point.

Schwartzman has two brothers and a sister and all four siblings went to Hebrew school and were bar or bat mitzvah. He began his tennis career by playing at a Buenos Aires sports club that was founded by Jews in the early 20th century when they were barred from other sports clubs. His family isn’t wealthy and they had to sacrifice to support him early in his tennis career. 

Briefly Noted

SETH ROGEN and his wife, actress/writer LAUREN MILLER ROGEN, both 37, recently appeared on a local L.A. TV to promote “Hilarity for Charity,” a charity they founded that raises money for Alzheimer’s research (Lauren’s mother was a victim of early-onset Alzheimer’s). The host, who is Jewish, knew the Rogens are avid potters and he presented them with a ceramic menorah to paint, which they did as they were interviewed. The couple told the host they had a ceramic kiln at home, which they named ““Brad Pitt.” Why? “Because it is so hot”, Seth explained.

ROMAN POLANSKI’s  film, “An Officer and a Spy,” premiered on Aug. 31 at the Venice Film Festival. Early reviews said the film wasn’t bad, but it was plodding. As I noted in a previous column, the movie is about ALFRED DREYFUS, a Jewish French army officer who was convicted of spying for the Germans in 1894. The case stirred anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906.

Normally, a quality film about anti-Semitism would have no problem opening in America. However, the rise of the “me-too” movement, coupled with Polanski’s legal problems, has made him toxic (he fled America in 1978 rather than serve jail time for sex with an underage girl). My guess is that the Polanski's "toxicity" and the film’s so-so reviews will result in only a token American theater release. Also, Polanski didn’t help himself when he recently gave interviews in which he compared his legal troubles to Dreyfus's ordeal.



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