The Golden Globe Awards (Jan. 10, at 8 p.m., NBC), begins what’s called “awards season.” The next biggie is the Screen Actors’ Guild — aka SAG — awards, which airs on both TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30. The explosion of red carpet walkers continues with the Grammys, which air on CBS on Monday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. It all ends with the biggest megillah, the Oscars, on Feb. 28.
The Globes, awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are viewed as a pretty good predictor of Oscar wins, and the relaxed ceremony atmosphere makes it fun to watch. Globes are awarded for both film and TV work. The lead actor/actress categories in film, and the best film category, have separate nominees for drama and for musical and/or comedy.
Lead actress, comedy: AMY SCHUMER, 34, “Trainwreck.” This megahit film has turned Schumer from a minor celeb into the comedy It Girl of 2015. Best supporting actress: JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, 53, “The Hateful 8”. (As in Noshes on page 4, all Jewish nominees’ names are in capital letters the first time they appear in this article.)
Best director: TODD HAYNES, 54 (“Carol”); Best screenplay: JOSH SINGER, 43 (“Spotlight,” with Tom McCarthy); also AARON SORKIN, 54 (“Steve Jobs”). Singer’s highly lauded script almost certainly will get an Oscar nom, too. Every year, the Globes have a few quirky nominations, and Sorkin’s screenplay, which got more pans than raves, is a Globe quirk. Best Original Song: “See You Again” (from “Furious 7”), co-written by CHARLIE PUTH, 24, who also is a Grammy nominee this year. After recently finding out Puth’s mother is Jewish, I watched his videos on Youtube (he sings, too). He’s a charming, “nice young man,” whose other hit, “Marvin Gaye,” is a peppy pop song that could play on Broadway. Best animated film: “Anomalisa,” which was directed and written by CHARLIE KAUFMAN, 57. He’s best known for his quasi-fantasy films like “Being John Malkovich.” By the way, Jennifer Jason Leigh voiced one of three characters in this film.
Best foreign film: “Son of Saul,” directed and written by LASZLO NEMES, 38, a Hungarian-born Jew who grew up mostly in France. It follows 48 hours in the life of a Hungarian Jew forced to remove bodies from the Treblinka gas chambers. He finds a corpse he believes to be his son’s body and tries to find a way to have a proper burial, with a rabbi.
The best film awards go to the principal producers. However, I am listing those “best of” films with a significant Jewish connection other than just a Jewish producer(s). Best drama film: “Carol,” directed by Todd Haynes. “Carol,” like his previous hit film, “Far From Heaven,” is about a concealed gay relationship. In 2011, Haynes, whose mother is Jewish, said: “Judaism is an important part of my identity.… I wish my last name was not so WASPY … all my films are about resilient outsiders, whether in terms of race or sexual orientation, and I think I inherited that from [my Jewish grandfather, a social/political activist].” “Room” and “Spotlight” also are competing in this category. “Room” was directed by LENNY ABRAHAMSON, 49, an Irish Jew. “Spotlight” was co-written by Josh Singer and co-stars LIEV SCHREIBER, 48, as MARTY BARON, 60, the (real life Jewish) Boston Globe editor who led the team that uncovered the Boston pedophile priest scandal.
Best musical or comedy film: “Joy,” directed and written by DAVID O. RUSSELL, 57. It competes with “Trainwreck,” which was directed by JUDD APATOW, 48, and was co-written by Amy Schumer, who also starred. Also in this category is “Spy,” directed and written by Paul Feig, 53. Feig’s paternal Jewish grandmother converted to Christian Science and his father was raised in that faith. However, Feig’s humor is quite Jewish, he isn’t religious, and his wife of 21 years is Jewish. His background defies simple description.
Best actor, drama: JEFFREY TAMBOR, 71 (“Transparent,” on Amazon); He plays a Jewish man, with a Jewish ex-wife and adult children, who is transitioning to become a woman. Best actor, comedy or musical: LIEV SCHREIBER (“Ray Donovan” on Showtime). Best actress, drama: EVA GREEN, 35 (“Penny Dreadful” on Showtime). The breathtakingly beautiful Green is a former “Bond Girl” (“Casino Royale”). She was born and raised in France; her mother is an Algerian-born Sephardi Jew. Best actress, musical or comedy: RACHEL BLOOM, 28 (“My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on the CW), whose series combines musical numbers with comedy. JAMIE LEE CURTIS, 57 (“Scream Queens” on Fox). Supporting actress (drama or comedy): JUDITH LIGHT, 66 (“Transparent”), who plays Jeffrey Tambor’s ex-wife.
Best musical or comedy series: Five series with big Jewish connections are nominated in this category. (1) “Casual,” on Hulu, was created by and is written by ZANDER LEHMANN, 28. His father is director MICHAEL LEHMANN, 57 (“Heathers”). “Casual” stars MICHELA WATKINS, 44. (2) “Mozart in the Jungle” is an Amazon series co-created by JASON SCHWARTZMAN, 35. LOLA KIRKE, 25, is a series co-star. (3), “Orange is the New Black,” on Netflix, was created by JENJI KOHAN, 46. (4) “Silicon Valley,” an HBO series, was co-created by JOHN ALTSCHULER, 52, and DAVE KRINSKY; 30. (5) “Transparent,” which was created by and is written by JILL SOLOWAY, 50.
Best Drama Series: “Empire” on Fox, which was co-created by DANNY STRONG, 41. Its co-stars include JUSSIE SMOLLET, 32, the son of a white Jewish father and an African-American mother. And “Game of Thrones,” a HBO series co-created and co-written by D.B. WEISS, 44, and DAVID BENIOFF, 44.
Unlike the Globes or the Oscars, the SAG Awards honors only actors. Uniquely, an award goes to the whole acting cast or ensemble.
SARAH SILVERMAN, 45 (“I Smile Back”), is the only Jewish actor or actress to be nominated for an individual film acting award. Her performance as a depressed wife and mother got reviews much better than the film, itself. Here’s hoping it will open doors to good roles for Silverman in great dramatic films.
Five films are nominated for the best cast (whole ensemble) award. One nominee is “Spotlight,” which co-stars Liev Schreiber. Another is “Trumbo,” which co-stars MICHAEL STUHLBARG, 47, and features, as characters, real-life tribe members EDWARD G. ROBINSON, KIRK DOUGLAS, now 99, and OTTO PREMINGER. JAY ROACH, 58, directed.
TV, individual acting nominees: JULIANNA MARGULIES, 49 (“The Good Wife”) is up for lead actress in a drama series. Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) is nominated for lead actor performance in a comedy.
TV—ensemble cast nomination (comedy series): Three series in this category have multiple Jewish cast members: (1) “Transparent.” Its main cast includes Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, and CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, 41. (2) “Orange is the New Black.” Its main cast includes LAURA PREPON, 35, and two Jews with somewhat exotic backgrounds: YAEL STONE, 30, and CONSTANCE SHULMAN, 57. Stone, who plays Lorena Morello, is the first Australian Jewish actress to be a regular on an American TV show. Her husband is also an Aussie Jewish actor (without American credits, yet). Shulman, who plays Yoga Jones, was raised in Johnson City, Tennessee, a VERY Baptist area, as a profile of her noted. Shulman’s authentic Southern accent came in handy when she co-starred in the original stage version of “Steel Magnolias.” (3) “Big Bang Theory” on CBS, whose 7-member main cast includes three Jews: MELISSA RAUCH, 35, SIMON HELBERG, 35, and MAYIM BIALIK, 40.
TV—ensemble cast nomination (drama): Odd things happen, and remarkably the only Jewish actor/actress in a drama series that’s up for the ensemble prize is MANDY PATINKIN, 63. He plays the Jewish character Saul Berenson in “Homeland,” on Showtime.
There are more than 100 Grammy categories, but only about 25 awards are presented at the televised ceremony. I will only cover those awards I believe will be given at that ceremony. Whole big categories, like classical music, are relegated to a non-televised awards ceremony. A notable “no TV” nominee is JULIA WOLFE, 57, a Pennsylvania native who studied music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She’s is the composer of the Grammy-nominated “Anthracite Fields” (contemporary classical music composition category). This work already has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for music.
The most nominated Hebrew is DRAKE, 29, aka Aubrey Drake Graham. The son of a Canadian Jewish mother and an African-American father, he was raised in his mother’s faith. He isn’t shy about flying his Jewish flag, as he did in his 2014 SNL hosting gig, where he played himself as a bar mitzvah boy in a skit that included a Drake rap song that begun: “I’m black, I’m Jewish—it’s a mitzvah!” Drake is nominated for best rap performance (2x) (“Back to Back,” a solo performance, and “Truffle Butter,” with other artists); best rap/sung collaboration (“Only,” with other artists); best rap song (“Energy,” which he wrote and sung); and best rap album (“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”).
After Drake comes MARK RONSON, 40, an Anglo-American Jew who had a big year, with three nominations: “Uptown Funk,” a song he wrote with Bruno Mars (who does the vocals with Ronson), is nominated for record of the year and for best pop duo performance. The album it appeared on, “Uptown Special,” is nominated for album of the year. “Funk” has been a global smash, with staggering stats, like being #1 for fourteen consecutive weeks on the US Billboard magazine charts and earning about $3 million in writing royalties alone for the duo. Ronson, whose parents are British Jews with familial connections to the top of the UK Jewish community (politicians and business people), came to the States when he was about 10, his parents divorced, and his mother re-married. (Fun P.S. – Bruno Mars’ paternal grandma was Jewish.)
Charlie Puth (see Globe nominations above) is Grammy nominated for song of the year and best pop duo collaboration for “See You Again” (which he co-wrote and co-sung with singer Wiz Khalifa). He’s also nominated for best song written for a visual media (like a film). On Jan. 29, Puth’s debut studio album, “Nine Track Mind,” will be released. The visual media category includes a nominated song co-written by DIANE WARREN, 59, a 12-time Grammy winner, with Lady Gaga (“Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”)
Producer of the Year is a big Grammy nomination and veteran LARRY KLEIN, 59, is nominated this year. He already won four Grammys (two for producing two different Joni Mitchell albums. He was married to Mitchell from 1982 to 1994). This year he produced albums by a variety of artists in different genres, including jazz/r&b artist Lizz Wright and country-rock songwriter J.D. Souther. He’s also played bass on hundreds of albums featuring marquee performers like BOB DYLAN and Joni Mitchell.
Dylan, 74, is nominated for best traditional pop album (“Shadows in the Night,” in which he covers songs associated with Frank Sinatra). He competes in this category with BARRY MANILOW, 72, “My Dream Duets.”
Finally, there’s rock drummer JAY WEINBERG, 25, the son of Newark native MAX WEINBERG, 65. Max is most famous for being Bruce Springsteen’s drummer. Jay filled in for Max when he played with Springsteen’s band in 2008 and 2009. In 2014, he joined Slipknot, a heavy metal band. Their 2015 CD, “.5: The Gray Chapter,” is nominated for best rock album and best metal performance (the song is “Custer”).