It’s a new year and that means it’s time for the Golden Globes. The show starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 on NBC with Jimmy Fallon as host. Here are the Jewish nominees.
FILM: Best actress, drama: Natalie Portman, 35, “Jackie.” Best actor, drama: Andrew Garfield, 33, “Hacksaw Ridge.” Best actress, musical or comedy: Hailee Steinfeld, 20, “The Edge of Seventeen.” Best actor, musical or comedy: Jonah Hill, 33, “War Dogs.” Supporting actor (comedy or drama): Simon Helberg, 36, “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
TV: Best actor, drama: Liev Schreiber, 49, “Ray Donovan.” Best actor; musical or comedy: Jeffrey Tambor, 72, “Transparent.” Best actress, drama: Winona Ryder, 45, “Stranger Things,” and Evan Rachel Wood, 29, “Westworld.” Best actress, musical or comedy series: Tracee Ellis Ross, 44, “Blackish,” Rachel Bloom, 29, “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and Sarah Jessica Parker, 51, “Divorce.”
OTHER FILM: Kenneth Lonergan, 54, director-writer of “Manchester by the Sea,” is the sole Jewish nominee in the directing and screenwriting categories. Original film score: Justin Hurwitz, 31, “La La Land,” and Hans Zimmer, 57, “Hidden Figures.” Best original song: “City of Gold” (from “La La Land”), Hurwitz and Benj Pasek, 31.
Here are other categories with a Jewish director; screenwriter or TV show creator.
FILM: Best drama: “Manchester by the Sea,” Lonergan. Best musical or comedy: “Florence Foster Jenkins,” directed by Stephen Frears, 75.
TV: Best series, drama: “The Crown,” created by and written by Peter Morgan, 53, and “Game of Thrones,” created by David Benioff, 46, and D.B. Weiss, 46 (and often written by them); and “This Is Us,” created and written by Dan Fogelman, 40. Best series, musical or comedy: “Mozart in the Jungle,” Jason Schwartzman, 36, and Paul Weitz, 51 (co-creators), and “Transparent,” Jill Soloway, 51 (creator and main writer). Best movie or mini-series: “The Dresser” (based on a play by Ronald Harwood, 82), “The Night Manager,” directed by Susanne Bier, 56, “The Night Of,” Richard Price, 67 (co-creator), and “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” Jeffrey Toobin, 58. Toobin wrote the book the series was based on and helped write the series, too.
New TV comedy
“The Mick,” a new comedy series, premiered on Fox on Jan. 1, with future episodes airing at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. The show stars Kaitlin Olson as Mickey, a middle-age hustler looking for an easy life whose dreams are answered when she is named guardian of her sister’s three children and gets to live in their palatial home. There’s one catch: Mickey is required to turn these three spoiled brats into responsible people. Sofia Black D’Elia, 24, plays Sabrina, the oldest child, described as “an ambitious, 18-going-on-30-year-old who is a worthy adversary to Mickey.”
Two well-regarded French films starring French actress Isabelle Huppert, 63, opened in limited release in the last month: “Elle” and “Things to Come.” Huppert won the New York and Los Angeles film critics’ awards for best actress of 2016, and while nothing is certain, the betting odds are that she will win the Golden Globe for “Elle” and an Oscar nomination for best actress.
Huppert isn’t Jewish; but her family history is a Jewish story. Her father was a wealthy Jewish manufacturer and her mother was Catholic. Her parents wed during the Nazi occupation of France and various sources say he laid low during the war and hid his Jewish background to avoid deportation. It appears he even hid his background after the war. To this day, the actress, who was raised Catholic, is reluctant to talk about her father’s Jewish background. Typical is this exchange with a French magazine in which she says her father is Jewish “but I never talk about it … because there was silence about it in my family, and it’s a silence I naturally prolong.” (Isabelle’s sister, who is more open about talking about their father, seems to be the one who disclosed the family secret).
You would think Huppert would be more open — she has played a Jewish character in at least two films — and her husband of 35 years is producer and director Ronald Chammah, 60, a Lebanon-born Jew. The couple have three children, including actress Lolita Chammah, 33, who is well known in France. Frankly, I think with the Huppert family we are dealing, in least in part, with the twisted wreckage of the Holocaust and its lasting psychic affects.
A little about Dr. Maneuver
The inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, Dr. Henry Heimlich, died on Dec. 17 at 96. Here are some details not in most obits. The son of immigrants, Heimlich became a thoracic surgeon and, in 1969, became head of surgery at Cincinnati’s Jewish Hospital. In 1951, he married dancer Jane Murray, the daughter of famous dancers Arthur and Kathryn Murray (their original last names were Teichman and Kohnfelder, respectively). Jane died in 2011 at 86. A Cincinnati friend, who was a longtime friend of one of Heimlich’s two daughters, tells me that the doctor and his wife were not religious and were very nice people. Fun fact: Anson Williams (Potsie on “Happy Days”) is widely reported to be Dr. Heimlich’s nephew. In a 2014 memoir, Willliams said they are actually second cousins but are very close, and he called Heimlich “Uncle Henry.” Williams arranged for Heimlich to appear on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1974 and demonstrate his life-saving maneuver, a huge boost to national awareness of the technique.
Yuks with Albert Einstein
I thought I knew a lot about Albert Einstein (1879-1955), having read a couple of biographies and seen a number of documentaries. But an anecdote I never heard before made me smile, and I think starting the new year with a smile is a good thing.
A 1991 “American Masters” Einstein documentary began by showing Einstein’s sense of humor. Nearly the entire first scene was newsreel footage of Einstein joking with reporters. This was followed by an interview with Dutch-born physicist Abraham Pais (1918-2000), who knew Einstein very well and related this: “He loved Jewish jokes. I told him many, and the thing I wish most is that I had a record in which I captured Einstein’s laughter when he heard a good Jewish joke. His laugh sounded like the sound of a contented seal: A very strange sound.”
I just love the image of the greatest intellect of the 20th century laughing uproariously at the same jokes I’ve loved and the same jokes that amused the Jews who flocked to the Borscht Belt during Einstein’s lifetime. We all may not be experts in the theory of relativity, but the whole tribe gets a good Jewish joke.