Alex Borstein pays tribute to Holocaust survivor grandmother in Emmy win

September 23, 2019 22:14
3 minute read.
ALEX BORSTEIN accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for ‘The Marve

ALEX BORSTEIN accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ at the Emmys Sunday night.. (photo credit: MIKE BLAKE/ REUTERS)

 In a night of impassioned political speeches at the 2019 Emmy Awards, which were presented in Los Angeles on Sunday night, Alex Borstein, who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for the second year in a row, combined female-empowerment politics with a heartfelt tribute to her Holocaust-survivor grandmother in her acceptance speech.

After clowning around – claiming she wasn’t wearing underwear and apologizing for not wearing a bra last year at the awards show – she spoke about dedicating her award to Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and every other woman in the cast and crew, as well as her mother and grandmother.

“… [T]o my grandmother, Naji, they are immigrants, they are Holocaust survivors. My grandmother turned to a guard, she was in line to be shot into a pit and she said, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ and he said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will’  and she stepped out of line. And for that, I am here and for that, my children are here, so step out of line, ladies, step out of line!”

Borstein, one of the only members of the Maisel cast who is actually Jewish, plays the title character’s tough-talking comedy act manager. Tony Shalhoub, who plays Mrs. Maisel’s father, won his fourth Emmy award altogether and his first in this role. Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby won Outstanding Guest Actress and Actor for their roles in the series. But lead actress Rachel Brosnahan, who won last year for her performance in the lead role and was one of the favorites to win this year, did not receive an Emmy.

Nor did Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the Jewish actress who has won six Emmys for her performance as Selina Meyer, the self-interested politician who was the focus of the series, Veep. This was the final season for the show, and Louis-Dreyfus was treated for cancer, but Emmy voters chose Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag for Outstanding Lead Actress in a comedy. Fleabag, a series adapted from her one-woman show about a woman living in London while overcoming a tragedy, also won for Outstanding Comedy Series and Waller-Bridge won for best writing in a comedy series.

Louis-Dreyfus joked about not winning when she presented the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie which went to Michelle Williams for Fosse/Verdon.

Julia Garner, whose mother is Israeli, won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as a tough redneck in Ozark. Tami Gingold, Garner’s mother, was an actress/comedian in Israel in the 1980s. Ozark’s star, Jason Bateman, won for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series.

To no one’s surprise, Game of Thrones won again for Outstanding Drama Series, in its final season and Peter Dinklage won his fourth Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the show.

One historic moment was the win for Billy Porter, who received an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Pose and became the first openly gay African American actor to win an Emmy. Pose is about the voguing ball culture in New York in the 80s.

Chernobyl, the HBO drama about the nuclear disaster, won for Outstanding Limited Series.

Most of the winning series can be seen in Israel on cable networks or via streaming services such as Netflix. Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which are from Amazon, are not currently available in Israel (or only are for those with a certain kind of Amazon Prime membership).

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