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Golden Globes: Andrew Garfield, and Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story,’ win big

By Shira Hanau

(JTA) — Golden Globes fans may have noticed something different this year: The annual entertainment awards were not announced on TV, and not for COVID-19 reasons. NBC dropped the broadcast over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s diversity problem — none of the 87 members of the Globes’ awards body are Black.

But the winners were still announced Sunday night, Jan. 9, mostly via Twitter and press releases. And they still may offer a hint at the likely winners at this year’s Oscars, set to take place March 27. If that’s the case, a few big Jewish winners padded their Oscar resume Sunday. Here’s the list:

Steven Spielberg didn’t add to his crowded shelf of best director awards, but his remake of “West Side Story” won best comedy or musical film, and multiple actresses from the movie won Globes, too. A now-deleted tweet from the Globes declared, “If laughter is the best medicine (‘West Side Story’) is the cure for what ails you” — even though the musical is, famously, a tragedy.

Andrew Garfield, the Jewish star of “tick, tick…BOOM!”, won best actor in a comedy or musical for his portrayal of Jonathan Larson, the Jewish musical theater writer behind “Rent”, who died the night before the show’s first performance.

Jewish composer Hans Zimmer, a perennial award winner, won best original score for his music for the science fiction blockbuster “Dune,” which starred Jewish heartthrob Timothée Chalamet. The Israeli Philharmonic threw a Zimmer-themed Chanukah event in 2020.

HBO’s “Hacks,” about a young comedy writer who ends up working for a Joan Rivers-type comedy legend, won best TV comedy or musical series. Hannah Einbinder, the proudly Jewish actress who stars as the young comedienne, was nominated for best actress in a comedy or musical show — but lost to her co-star Jean Smart.

Also on the losing front, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “Licorice Pizza,” which celebrates a turning point in how pop culture views Jewish women, had scored several nominations — including one for breakout Jewish actress Alana Haim, of the pop band Haim — but lost in each category.

Jon Stewart says he was joking when he called ‘Harry Potter’ goblins antisemitic

By Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Jon Stewart thinks we all missed the joke.

Following a recent podcast in which he suggested that goblin characters in the “Harry Potter” series resembled antisemitic caricatures, the Jewish comedian posted a follow-up video to Twitter on Wednesday, Jan. 5, saying that he did not mean to accuse the series’ author J.K. Rowling of antisemitism.

“Let me just say this, super clearly, as clearly as I can… I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic,” Stewart, responding to articles in Newsweek and elsewhere, said about the conversation he had on a late 2021 episode of the podcast tied to his Apple+ show, “The Problem With Jon Stewart.” “I did not accuse her of being antisemitic. I do not think that the ‘Harry Potter’ movies are antisemitic. I really love the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age.”

In his earlier podcast episode, Stewart talked about the series’ goblin characters, who run the wizarding world’s bank and covet gold. Stewart compared the movie version of the characters to stereotypes found in the infamous antisemitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Jon Stewart talks about J.K. Rowling in a video uploaded to Twitter, Jan. 5, 2022. (Screenshot)

“It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like ‘holy shit, she did not in a wizarding world just throw Jews in there to run the f—ing underground bank,’” he said.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s sister site Alma published an article on Stewart’s comments on Monday, and several other outlets have covered the podcast episode since.

In his video on Wednesday, Stewart insisted that he was only describing his experience watching the first film in the series “as a Jewish guy,” and how “some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible even in a considered process like moviemaking.”

“There is no reasonable person that could’ve watched it [the podcast] and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation,” he said.

Stewart was far from the first commentator to point out perceived antisemitic stereotypes in the goblin characters, especially as criticism of Rowling’s social media posts has snowballed in recent years.

An English high school dropped Rowling’s name from one of its houses this week in response to demands from students critical of some of the author’s past comments about transgender people.

Main Photo: David Alvarez as Bernardo in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake. (Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox)

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