‘Unorthodox’ takes home Emmy for best director

Unorthodox, which stars Israeli actress Shira Haas as an ultra-Orthodox woman who flees Brooklyn for Berlin, was nominated for eight awards.

SHIRA HAAS in Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox. (photo credit: NETFLIX)
SHIRA HAAS in Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox.
(photo credit: NETFLIX)
German director Maria Schrader on Sunday night won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie for the Netflix series, Unorthodox, which stars Israeli actress Shira Haas as an ultra-Orthodox woman who flees Brooklyn for Berlin. Unorthodox was nominated for eight awards.

The ceremony was broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which was empty save for host Jimmy Kimmel and a few drop-ins by socially distancing presenters – such as Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Tracee Ellis Ross – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the subject of most of Kimmel’s jokes. Showing the cut-outs occupying the seats, after an opening in which footage from previous ceremonies was shown to make it look as if there were a live audience, he quipped, “of course it’s empty, this is the Emmys, not a MAGA rally.” The nominees watched from their homes or hotel suites. Many of the acceptance speeches were politically charged and several presenters wore T-shirts that referenced the Black Lives Matter protests.

Haas, who was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series, looked lovely as she watched the Emmy broadcast from Israel. Photographed sitting in front of a bookshelf and wearing a strapless, floral-print sparkly gown, that the New York Post reported was by Chanel Haute Couture, she clapped for the winner of the award, Regina King, of Watchmen – a superhero drama about brutality against African-Americans – who was heavily favored to win.

Unorthodox featured many Israeli actors, including Amit Rahav, and creator/director Schrader came to Israel in 2007 to film an adaptation of Zeruya Shalev’s novel, Love Life, starring Neta Garty of Fauda. The win for Schrader, an actress who has moved into directing, was a rare instance when the wildly popular HBO series Watchmen did not win an award for which it was nominated. In addition to King’s award, the presciently themed series won awards for Outstanding Limited Series, as well as eight others.

In other Israel-related Emmy news, rising star Zendaya won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role in the dark and controversial teen drama, Euphoria, which was adapted from the Israeli series of the same name by Ron Leshem.

Julia Garner, whose mother is Israeli, won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for the second year in a row for her performance as a tough-as-nails local in Ozark.

The show dragged even though there was no need to wait for the winners to leave their seats and climb to the stage, running over three hours. Kimmel joked that this year, the nominees wouldn’t be judged by their outfits but by their living room furniture, and said he hoped next year the ceremony could get to a superficial focus on fashion.