January 18, 2020
From left: Sam Mendes, Patricia Arquette, Caroline Aaron and Taika Waititi. (Photos courtesy of Amazon Studios and Getty Images)

Jewish Golden Globe Attendees Talk Social Impact and Anti-Semitism

Taking a break from the harsh realities of an attack on Iran, raging fires in Australia, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism, giants from the television and film world gathered at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 5 for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony.

Jewish director Sam Mendes took home the best director and best drama film awards for his immersive World War I film, “1917,” which he dedicated to his grandfather who fought in that war. Speaking to the press following his wins, Mendes said he was grateful to have the support system of his cast and crew, including filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

“[1917] couldn’t have been made without Amblin [Entertainment, founded by Spielberg] or Universal [Pictures],” Mendes said. “The first time I met Steven, I was 33 years old. I’d never made a movie. I walked into the room and he treated me like an equal and he’s treated me like an equal every day since. When you send a script like this out and somebody like Steven says, ‘This is incredible. I love it. I want to make it,’ you know, it’s thrilling. He manages to be a huge movie fan and a genius at the same time. He gave the movie the best thing, which is enthusiasm. … I have a huge amount to be grateful to him for.”

Patricia Arquette, who won a best supporting actress award for her role as the overprotective mother Dee Dee Blanchard in the limited series “The Act,” used her acceptance speech to discuss her fears about the climate crisis and its effects in Australia as well as American politics. She expanded on those concerns backstage in the press room, saying, “I feel like my daughter is so much stronger than I ever was and I learned a lot about strength from her. But I did see her negotiating this new world and I think the world is changing. … I’m very hopeful and I think it will evolve us as a species.” 

Arquette’s on-screen daughter and tribe member Joey King, who was nominated for the first time for her leading role as Gypsy Blanchard in “The Act,” told the Journal how honored she was to act alongside Arquette in the Hulu series.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to play this character and to be around people who love their job as much as I do,” King said. “Patricia and I are super tight … [and] forming those wonderful friendships with the cast and the whole crew is something I will never forget.” 

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” Caroline Aaron, who reprised her role in Season Three as the loud and proud Jewish mother Shirley Maisel, dazzled on the red carpet in a silver sequined pantsuit. She told the Journal how fortunate she is to play a proud Jewish character in creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s world. 

“It’s so important right now, it’s kind of scary,” Aaron said, referring to having a show that features Jewish characters. “I mean, we are all so spoiled that history is just kind of a fact. [Anti-Semitism] is not an experience [everyone has had] and now it feels like it is circling close to home. To have a show that is on the air and so beloved is so important. It really is.”

“ ‘Jojo’ might resonate with certain younger people than a more dramatic telling of that story. I think it’s great to have comedies and dramas and musicals with these sorts of subjects.” — Taika Waititi

Veteran film and television producer and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises Jane Rosenthal (“When They See Us,” “Rent,” “Bohemian Rhapsody”) told the Journal that being a producer is “all I know how to be.” Her latest Netflix film, “The Irishman,” was nominated for five Golden Globes. Although it did not take home any awards, Rosenthal said, “The fact that we got there was exhilarating.” 

After 9/11, she and her producing partner, actor Robert De Niro, founded the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in an effort to revitalize the city’s Tribeca neighborhood. She told the Journal while she has worked in the business for several years, there is one more project she hasn’t worked on and that she is dedicated to take on.

“Elect a president we are really excited about,” Rosenthal said, “and to stop the violence and hatred that’s going on in this country, particularly the kind of anti-Semitic attacks that we’ve had in New York City over the last couple of weeks.” 

Maori Jewish director, writer and actor Taika Waititi brought his electric energy to the Globes this year with his latest film, the Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit.” The movie, which took home top honors at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, didn’t score any Globes, but Waititi was eager to discuss his latest endeavor: a collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation, which will integrate “Jojo” into its Holocaust education for students. 

“It’s extremely important [to have] young people watching things like this and watching a wide array of films with different tones that deal with [the Holocaust, propaganda, humor and satire]. … ‘Jojo’ might resonate with certain younger people than a more dramatic telling of that story. I think it’s great to have comedies and dramas and musicals with these sorts of subjects.”