The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards (5 p.m. Sept. 17 on NBC) includes a good number of Jewish nominees, in part because the number of nominees was increased last year. Here’s a list in categories that will be presented during the telecast, along with a few notes and anecdotes:
Lead actor, comedy: Larry David, 71, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Lead actress, comedy: Pamela Adlon, 52, “Better Things” and Tracee Ellis Ross, 45, “Black-ish.” Lead actress, drama: Evan Rachel Wood, 30, “Westworld.” Supporting actor, comedy: Henry Winkler, 72, “Barry.” Supporting actress, comedy: Alex Borstein, 47, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Supporting actor, drama: Mandy Patinkin, 65, “Homeland.” Supporting actor, limited series/TV movie: Michael Stuhlbarg, 50, “The Looming Tower”; Supporting actress, limited series/TV movie: Judith Light, 69, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”
Borstein, the voice of Lois Griffin in “The Family Guy,” was offered a starring role in “Gilmore Girls” in 2000 but had to pass due to a prior commitment. However, “Gilmore” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, 52, liked what she saw from Borstein and gave her a juicy supporting part when she created “Mrs. Maisel,” a surprise hit that has two seasons on Amazon Prime. Borstein’s mother is a Holocaust survivor from Hungary.
Stuhlbarg is nominated for playing a non-Jew (Richard Clarke, a top George W. Bush security official), but in the last decade, he has portrayed a lot of fictional and real-life Jews without ever getting an Emmy or Oscar nomination. The real life ones were gangster Arnold Rothstein, producer Lew Wasserman and New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal.
Two other nominees from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” deserve mention: Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub. Brosnahan, the title character, has said she plays a Jewish woman so authentically because she grew up in a heavily Jewish Chicago suburb. Shalhoub, who is of Lebanese Christian background, plays Abe Weissman, “TV’s most lovable, beleaguered father” according to Vanity Fair.
Now, back to some nominations in categories that cite a specific episode (which I have omitted). Director, comedy: Jesse Peretz, 50, “GLOW” and Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel.” Director, drama: Jeremy Podeswa, 55, “Game of Thrones” and Daniel Sackheim, 60ish, “Ozark.” Director, variety special: Glenn Weiss, 57, “90th Academy Awards” on ABC. Directing, limited series/TV movie: Scott Frank, 58, “Godless” (he also wrote the series) and Craig Zisk, 68, “The Looming Tower” and Barry Levinson, 76, “Paterno.”
Frank grew up in Los Gatos and, as I’ve noted before, his final scene in season 1 of “Godless” included a pastor reciting what seemed to be a prayer. Actually, it was a poem (“Tis a Fearful Thing”) by Spanish physician, poet and philosopher Judah Halevi (1075-1141).
More nominations … Writing, comedy: Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel.” Writing, drama: Joe Weisberg, 52, “The Americans,” Peter Morgan, 55, “The Crown,” and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, both 47, “Game of Thrones.” Writing, limited series/TV movie: Frank, “Godless.”
Outstanding series awards go to the series’ principal producers; my practice is to list the nominated shows that have a Jewish creator or co-creator (who is usually a producer, too).
Nominees in the outstanding series categories include comedy: David, “Curb,” Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel” and John Altschuler, 55, with Dave Krinsky, 55, “Silicon Valley.” Drama series: Weisberg, “The Americans,” Peter Morgan, “The Crown,” Benioff with Weiss, “Game of Thrones” and Dan Fogelman, 39, “This Is Us.” Variety sketch series: Sarah Silverman, 47, “I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman,” Carrie Brownstein, 43, “Portlandia” and Lorne Michaels, 73, “Saturday Night Live.” Limited series: Noah Pink, 35ish, “Genius: Picasso” and Frank, “Godless.”
The ‘other’ Emmys
Because the number of Emmy categories has grown so dramatically, some awards (and technical categories) will be in the Creative Arts ceremony at 5 p.m. Sept. 15 on FXX. Here are some of the notable Jewish nominees:
TV movie: Jennifer Fox, 59, writer, “The Tale” and Deborah Cahn, 47, writer, “Paterno.” Informational series: the late Anthony Bourdain, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Documentary: Bryan Fogel, 50ish, “Icarus” and Judd Apatow, 50, “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.” Guest actress, comedy series: Tiffany Haddish, 38, “Saturday Night Live” and Maya Rudolph, 46, “The Good Place.” Narrator: Carl Reiner, 96, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” and Liev Schreiber, 50, “24/7.”