Bernstein, Oppenheimer and Barbie lead off a Jew-ish list of Golden Globe nominees
Film/TVAwards to be held Jan. 7

Bernstein, Oppenheimer and Barbie lead off a Jew-ish list of Golden Globe nominees

The awards show is big on Jewish titans who shaped the world, in music, plastic and nuclear physics

Bradley Cooper is shown as Leonard Bernstein in the trailer for Netflix’s “Maestro.” (Screenshot from YouTube)
Bradley Cooper is shown as Leonard Bernstein in the trailer for Netflix’s “Maestro.” (Screenshot from YouTube)

This story was originally published in the Forward. Click here to get the Forward’s free email newsletters delivered to your inbox.

Before we begin, a moment of interesting l’dor v’dor. On Monday the Golden Globes nominated actor Riley Keough for her role as a 1970s singer in “Daisy Jones & the Six,” while actor Cailee Spaeny is nominated for best actress in a motion picture drama for playing Keough’s grandmother Priscilla Presley in a film that takes place — in part — in the same era.

Beyond this interesting piece of trivia, the Globes, after years of controversy involving alleged bribes and a pronounced lack of diversity, have elevated some quite Jewish fare for 2024, including marquee biopics about an American maestro, an American Prometheus and a Jewish American Plastic Princess.

Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” about Leonard Bernstein’s complicated marriage, is nominated for best picture in the drama category, best actress for Carey Mulligan and best actor for Cooper, who is also nominated for director. Joining it is Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” nominated for best picture, best actor for Cillian Murphy, supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr. (playing Lewis L. Strauss, the very Jewish foil to the scientific lead of the Manhattan Project) and best screenplay and director for Nolan.

While they are forever yoked together, “Oppenheimer” will not compete directly with Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” in the best picture category, as “Barbie” is nominated in the musical or comedy category. They will square off in the best director field, best screenplay and a new category called “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement in Motion Pictures.”

Jonathan Glazer’s stunning drama “The Zone of Interest,” about longtime commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Höss, is nominated for best drama, best non-English language picture and best original score, by composer Mica Levy. Glazer was snubbed for director.

While “Maestro” largely backgrounds Bernstein’s Jewish music, another Jewish wunderkind, Mark Ronson, is nominated for best song twice for “Dance the Night” and “I’m Just Ken” from the “Barbie” soundtrack. He’s in good company with Lenny Kravitz (nominated for “Road to Freedom,” written for “Rustin,” a film with quite a few Jewish resonances) and Jack Black, who co-wrote the song “Peaches” for “The Super Mario Brothers Movie.”

Jewish actors Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix and Timothée Chalamet are nominated for their leading roles in the comedy or musical category for “May December,” “Beau is Afraid” and “Wonka,” respectively. Each nomination is a little strange in that “May December” is not a straight-ahead comedy, “Beau is Afraid” kind of defies classification and “Wonka” was somewhat notorious for having trailers that nowhere indicate the film is a musical.

The late, great, and Jewish Robbie Robertson is nominated for his score for Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a film also nominated for best drama, actress, actor, supporting actor and screenplay for Scorsese and Jewish scribe Eric Roth.

In the television category, Rachel Weisz is nominated for her dual role of Beverly and Elliot Mantle in the Amazon Prime remake of David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers.” Emma Stone nominated for best actress in “Poor Things,” is also nominated for her performance in “The Curse,” a show where she plays a Jewish convert and says the Shabbat blessings.

Though lately controversial for their social media activity in support of Israel, some of which has been viewed as anti-Palestinian, Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman are each nominated in the Globes’ new category for stand-up comedy. Silverman, who co-stars in “Maestro” as Leonard Bernstein’s sister, is nominated for “Sarah Silverman: Someone You Love” and Schumer for “Amy Schumer: Emergency Contact.”

Rounding out TV, which features a raft of nominees for the valedictory season of “Succession” and just one for the farewell to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Rachel Brosnahan for actress) are nominations for Jewish stars Jason Segal (for “Shrinking”), Natasha Lyonne (the “Columbo” homage “Pokerface”) and Eban Moss-Bachrach on “The Bear” as a character who came under fire for uttering the phrase “Jewish lightning.”

The ceremony is set for Jan. 7, 2024. PJC

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