Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News.
The Primetime Emmy Awards are being presented, live, on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 5PM PDT. Here are the “confirmed” Jewish nominees in the most prominent categories. Jews who created and/or are main producers of a “best show” nominee precede the show’s name.
ACTING: Lead actor, comedy series: LARRY DAVID, 65, Curb Your Enthusiasm”; Lead actress, comedy: LENA DUNHAM, 26, “Girls”; Supporting actor, comedy: MAX GREENFIELD, 32, “New Girl”; Supporting actress, comedy: MAYIM BIALIK, 36, “Big Bang Theory”; Lead actress, drama series: JULIANNA MARGULIES, 46, “The Good Wife”; Supporting actress, mini-series/TV movie: MARE WINNINGHAM, 53, “Hatfields & McCoys”; Guest actress, comedy: MAYA RUDOLPH, 40, “Saturday Night Live” and ELIZABETH BANKS, 38, “30 Rock”. Guest actor, drama: MARK MARGOLIS, 72, “Breaking Bad” and BEN FELDMAN, 32, “Mad Men”; Voice-Over animated: HANK AZARIA, 48, “The Simpsons.”
DIRECTING: Comedy series: L. Dunham, “Girls”; JASON WINER, 38, “Modern Family”; STEVE LEVITAN, 50,“Modern Family”; JAKE KASDAN, 37, “New Girl”; and ROBERT B. WEIDE, 53, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Mini-Series/Movie: JAY ROACH, 55, “Game Change”; and PHILIP KAUFMAN, 75, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”.
WRITING: Comedy series: L. Dunham, “Girls”; Drama series: HOWARD GORDON, 51/GIDEON RAFF, 39, “Homeland”; MATTHEW WEINER, 47/ERIN LEVY, 28, “Mad Men”. Mini-series/Movie: DANNY STRONG, 38, “Game Change”.
Best drama series: HOWARD KORDER, 54, “Boardwalk Empire”; DAVID BENIOFF, 42, /D.B. WEISS, 41, “Game of Thrones”; M. Weiner, “Mad Men”; H. Gordon/G. Raff, “Homeland”.
Best comedy series: CHUCK LORRE, 59, “Big Bang Theory”; L. David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; L. Dunham, “Girls”; STEVEN LEVITAN, 50, “Modern Family”; LORNE MICHAELS, 67, “30 Rock”; and FRANK RICH, 63, “Veep”. Best mini-series or movie: BRAD FALCHUK, 41, “American Horror Story” and P. Kaufman/BARBARA TURNER, 76, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”.
The Daily Show”, starring and co-produced by JON STEWART, 49, is nominated once again for best variety series. It has been nominated every year since 2001 and has won every year since 2003.
San Francisco Symphony conductor MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, 67, is nominated (best musical direction) for the PBS special about his grandparents, BESSIE and BORIS THOMASHEFSKY, legends of the Yiddish theater.
Frank Rich, the co-producer of “Veep,” is the famous columnist Frank Rich, who used to write for the NY Times and now writes for The New Yorker.
David Benioff (“Game of Thrones”) is the husband of actress AMANDA PEET, 40. Barbara Turner is the mother of actress JENNIFER JASON LEIGH.
JAY ROACH (“Game Change”), a convert to Judaism, has been married to SUSANNA HOFFS, 53, since 1993 and they have two sons. Hoffs, known for her distinctive voice and striking looks, was the lead singer of the Bangles, popular ‘80s all-girl band.
Opening in Los Angeles and New York this Friday, Sept. 21, is “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a film based on the best-selling 1991 young adult novel by Stephen Chobosky. Many more cities will be added on the 28th. Check for an October opening in the Tampa area.
It follows the maturation of an adolescent named Charlie (who is also the novel/film’s narrator). LOGAN LERMAN, 20, stars as Charlie. PAUL RUDD, 43, plays his teacher. EZRA MILLER, 19, co-stars as Patrick, Charlie’s best friend. Emma Watson of “Harry Potter” fame plays Patrick’s step-sister.
Miller has been steadily acting in good indie films since 2009, but most have barely been seen. This includes the award-winning 2011 Brit film “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Miller played a kid who shoots up his high school. Despite great reviews for the film and Miller, financial problems limited theater distribution. “Wallflower” may be his break though role.
Miller landed on my radar when he told the Israeli newspaper “Ha’aretz” earlier this year: “My father is Jewish, my mother is not, but I consider myself entirely Jewish even though according to Jewish law I am not. I encourage everyone to understand that the rules were written before anyone could do DNA tests… I know that I am a descendant of Abraham through my father.” [And a visit to Israel?] “I definitely plan to do this.”
That’s about as smart and determined a claim to one’s Jewish identity that I have ever seen come out of the mouth of any person with “only” a Jewish father. But it is especially impressive coming from a 19-year-old.
Here are two additions to my previous column item about Jews in new TV shows: The pilot of the new NBC sit-com, “Animal Practice,” was “sneak previewed” on Aug. 12. The official premiere is on Sept. 26, at 8PM. JUSTIN KIRK, 43 (“Weeds”) stars as a top city-based veterinarian who a better rapport with animals than he does with humans. He’s surrounded by a group of comically wacky vets and a scene-stealing capuchin monkey named Crystal (Kirk’s mother is Jewish).
The ABC comedy, “The Neighbors,” which starts on Sept. 26, includes another Jewish cast member: CLARA MAMET, 17. She plays Amber Weaver, the daughter of a human family that live in an exclusive development populated by space aliens. Mamet is the real-life daughter of playwright DAVID MAMET, 64, and his wife, actress REBECCA PIDGEON, 46. JAMIE GERTZ plays Amber’s mother.
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.