January 18, 2020
Nick Kroll, Adam and Jackie Sandler and Rachel Brosnahan at the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards. Photos courtesy of Getty Images for The Critics Choice Association

Members of the Tribe Celebrate at the 25th Critics’ Choice Awards

Hundreds of stars graced the blue carpet in Santa Monica on Jan. 12 for the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. This year brought an extensive list of nominations featuring Jewish content, including “Schitt’s Creek,” “Big Mouth,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amy Schumer’s “Growing,” Jenny Slate’s “Stagefright,” Seth Meyers’ “Lobby Baby,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Uncut Gems,” “1917,” “Joker” and “Marriage Story.” 

Accepting the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Alex Borstein thanked her two most important critics: her parents. 

“This is a huge honor but not a huge surprise because I was raised by two of the harshest critics in the world,” Borstein said. “One of them is here with me tonight — my father. My parents were able to in a single breath tell me that they love me, that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread but also that I ate too much bread, that I should stop eating so much bread, that I was starting to look like bread.”

Caroline Aaron, who plays Shirley Maisel, told the Journal at this point in the series, everyone feels like a family, which makes acting together so easy.

“I think really it makes a difference in the product,” Aaron said. “Having had this experience, I now believe chemistry is as important in casting as casting [for the part itself].”  

Tony Shalhoub, who plays Abe Weissman, told the Journal his favorite Season Three scenes were when Abe was processing big changes, particularly when he returns to his old classroom. 

Jewish Journal at the 2020 Critic's Choice Award!

Posted by Jewish Journal on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

“It feels to me like he has a foot in both worlds for a moment,” Shalhoub said. “He is saying goodbye but he’s trying like he is making an apology for the mistakes he has made, and it’s a bittersweet moment. Somehow, that really resonated with me.”  

Also in attendance was “Big Mouth” co-creator, writer and actor Nick Kroll. The show’s third season began streaming on Netflix in October, and fans of the animated comedy witnessed their favorite cast of quirky tweens (voiced by Kroll, John Mulaney, Jenny Slate and Jessi Klein, among others) navigating life during puberty. 

“Big Mouth” mirrors Kroll and co-creator Andrew Goldberg’s upbringing. It’s why, Kroll said, the show is inherently Jewish.  

“I think the episode [of] the Florida road trip where they go down to Andrew’s grandfather for Passover is probably one of the most Jewish things that’s ever been on television, so I’m incredibly proud of how we talk about what our experience was growing up,” Kroll said. 

Jewish actor Brett Gelman was also in attendance, representing Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hit Amazon comedy, “Fleabag.” Gelman plays Martin, Claire’s despicable husband, on the show. He also plays quirky conspiracy theorist Murray on the Netflix sci-fi series “Stranger Things.”

“I feel lucky,” Gelman said, noting he gets recognized for his role on “Stranger Things” more than for “Fleabag.” But, he added, “the ‘Fleabag’ audience has really widened thanks to the critics’ response and the awards we’ve been getting.”

 “My parents were able to in a single breath tell me that they love me, that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread but also that I ate too much bread, that I should stop eating so much bread, that I was starting to look like bread.” — Alex Borstein 

“Joker” took home three of the seven awards it was nominated for. The following day, it garnered 11 Oscar nominations. Production designer Mark Friedberg told the Journal that the biggest challenge in making the film was creating a new Gotham City that differed from the iconic superhero comics. 

“The hard part and the exciting part was to create a realistic Gotham City based in history,” Friedberg said. “We didn’t create our Gotham from other Gothams; we created it from whole cloth. Both Todd [Phillips, director of “Joker”] and I grew up in New York and so our Gotham was based in that reality, in the city that we knew.” 

Acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren received her 11th Oscar nomination for best original song the day after the Critics Choice Awards. She was nominated for her song “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough,” about a 14-year-old boy who falls through the ice. If she wins, it will be her first Academy Award.

Warren wrote the song after seeing one of the film’s more intense scenes. 

“The community rallied behind [the boy],” Warren said. “They’d sing in his hospital window when he was in a coma. The preacher asked everyone in the room to stand up who kept believing and everybody in that room stood up. I remember that moment just got me, so I came in the next day and started that song and I was crying. It was really emotional and I thought it was a perfect song for the movie.” 

“The message is so strong,” she continued. “Especially right now with what’s going on in our country and the world, people feeling alone and divided. To hear, ‘Through whatever you go through, I’m standing with you’ is a powerful statement. It goes right to your heart.”