Award season features notable Jewish actors, performers


Award season notes and asides

Almost everyone praised Seth Meyers for his skillful hosting of this year’s politically charged Golden Globe awards. Meyers appeared on “The Ellen Show” a few days before the Globes and talked about his 2-year-old son, ASHE. As I’ve written before, Meyers, who had one Jewish grandfather, wed lawyer ALEXI ASHE, 33, in a Jewish ceremony in 2013. I gather the couple is raising Ashe in his mother’s faith, because Meyers talked about their Hanukkah celebration with Ashe. 

Son Ashe isn’t completely fluent in English yet, let alone Hebrew. But the very cute toddler tries hard. Meyers showed the “Ellen” audience a home video in which his wife was lighting Hanukkah candles as Ashe sang the blessing. He sang nonsense syllables that captured the rhythm of the prayer, even if he didn’t really know the Hebrew words. (Enter “Seth Meyers’ son is a Hanukkah pro” in YouTube search engine).

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards are being presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, on TBS and TNT. The leading actor/actress film nominees mostly duplicate this year’s Globe nominees (including Globe winner JAMES FRANCO, 39, and TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET, 22). However, let me highlight a number of Jewish thespians who are up for a SAG award but (mostly) weren’t Globe nominated.

 LARRY DAVID, 70 (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), and MARC MARON, 54 (“Glow”), are nominated for best actor in a comedy series.

 Unlike the Globes and Oscars, the SAG gives awards for best ensemble cast (one award for films). The cast of “Lady Bird” is nominated for best film cast and the nominees include BEANIE FELDSTEIN, 24, and ODEYA RUSH, 20. 

 The award for best ensemble TV is given to best comedy series and best drama series. In what may be a first, British Jewish actor ANTON LESSER, 65, is nominated as a cast member in two (best cast) nominated drama series: He plays Qyburn, the evil aide of evil Queen Cersei in “Game of Thrones,” and he plays Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in “The Crown.” Competing with these shows is “Stranger Things,” whose cast includes WINONA RYDER, 46, PAUL REISER, 60, and NOAH SCHNAPP, 13. Schnapp, who plays Will Byers, was the voice of Charlie Brown in “The Peanuts Movie” (2015). Born in America, his parents are Canadian Jews from Montreal. His mother is of Moroccan Jewish ancestry. 

The comedy series cast award nominees include “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (Larry David; SUSIE ESSMAN, 62; and JEFF GARLIN, 55); “Blackish” (TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, 45); “Glow” (ALISON BRIE, 35; Maron; and JACKIE TOHN, 36, who plays the Jewish character Melanie Rosen); and “Orange is the New Black” (LAURA PREPON, 37; NATASHA LYONNE, 38; and YAEL STONE, 32. Stone is an Australian Jew).

The Grammy Awards will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. Tony winner BEN PLATT (“Dear Evan Hansen”) will perform at the ceremony. The vast majority of Grammys are not given on TV. Here are a few of the Jewish nominees in the marquee, “TV worthy” categories. 

JACK ANTONOFF, 33 co-wrote and co-produced “Melodrama,” an album by singer Lorde that is nominated for album of the year. A rock star in his own right, Antonoff recently broke up with LENA DUNHAM, 31 (“Girls”), his girlfriend of five years. BENJAMIN LEVIN, 29 (aka Benny Blanco) produced “Issues,” a song-of-the-year  nominee. A top producer/songwriter, Levin has won three Grammys. 

PINK, 38 (aka Alecia Moore), is nominated for best solo pop performance (“What About Us”). Pink’s mother is Jewish and, for the first time I know of, she referred to herself this past year as “a Jewish woman” (after the violence in Charlottesville ). BOB DYLAN, 76, is nominated for best traditional pop vocal album (“Triplicate”), and the late LEONARD COHEN is nominated for best rock performance (“You Want it Darker”). Finally, the band the National is nominated for best alternative music album (“Sleep Well Beast”). The five-member group includes twin brothers BRYCE and AARON DESSNER, 41.