Jews fail to bring home the gold at 2017 Emmys

Most of the Jewish-themed content and Jewish actors went home empty-handed after the 69th Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

September 18, 2017 11:07
2 minute read.
Jews fail to bring home the gold at 2017 Emmys

69th Primetime Emmy Awards – Governors Ball – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 17/09/2017 - Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer poses. . (photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE)


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In a night filled with political content and anger directed at the sitting US president, Jewish shows and performers didn’t win big – but they got in a few jabs of their own.

Most of the Jewish-themed content and Jewish actors went home empty-handed after the 69th Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

Genius, the National Geographic series that covered the career of Albert Einstein against the backdrop of the Nazi rise to power in Germany, lost out to HBO’s Big Little Lies in the outstanding limited series category. Ron Howard lost the best director category for the show to Jean-Marc Valee and Big Little Lies.

HBO’s The Wizard of Lies, which featured Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff, the Jewish Wall Street executive who swindled thousands, lost out to Netflix’s Black Mirror: San Junipero. DeNiro also lost the best actor in a limited series or movie role to Riz Ahmed for The Night Of, as did Geoffrey Rush’s portrayal of Einstein. Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Ruth Madoff, also lost to Laura Dern for Big Little Lies.

All of the nominees for Transparent – Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light and Kathryn Hahn – lost their categories as well. The Amazon Prime show about a Jewish transgender woman and her extended family, the Pfeffermans, regularly features Jewish storylines; this upcoming season features a family trip to Israel.

The Jewish Liev Schreiber lost the best actor in a drama series award, for his role in Ray Donovan, to Sterling K. Brown for This is Us. Brown is the first black actor to win the category since 1998.

While it wasn’t a night for Jewish content, it was sure a night for political humor. With veiled – and not-so veiled – jabs made at US President Donald Trump all night, the awards show also honored some of the most biting political satire of the year.

In a surprise turn in a politically charged evening, Sean Spicer himself turned up on stage.

“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world,” Spicer said while pointing his finger at host Stephen Colbert.

“Wow, that really soothes my fragile ego,” the host deadpanned, before pointing at Spicer and saying, “Melissa McCarthy everyone, give it up,” as Spicer laughed and shook his head.

When Alec Baldwin accepted his award for portraying Trump, he said: “I suppose I should say, at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy.”

Donald Glover, who won two Emmys including best comedy actor for his FX show Atlanta, joked on stage, “I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list, he’s the reason I’m up here I think.”

And in the show’s opening musical number, Julia Louis-Dreyfus appeared dressed as her character, Selina Meyer, singing: “Imagine if your president was not beloved by Nazis.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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