The Schmooze

Jeffrey Tambor Triumphs at SAG Awards, Where Oscar’s Diversity Problem Was the Buzz

Everyone was talking about diversity at the Screen Actors Guild Awards Saturday night, with Oscar’s shutout of black actors.

But the SAGs had their own diversity issue for the Jews: Other than Jeffrey Tambor, there was a dearth of tribe members in both winners and nominees.

Tambor won for best comedy series actor for playing Maura Pfefferman, an aging wealthy transgender woman in Amazon’s “Transparent.”

“I’d like to dedicate this award to the non-Maura Pfeffermans who don’t have a lot of cash for their operations, for their medicine, for their freedom,” said the star, who has already won a boatload of awards for the series, whose creator is Jewish director Jill Solloway.

No other individual Jewish star (the SAGs only hand out statues to actors) won. And few were nominated.

“Good Wife” star Juliana Margulies was one of the few Jews nominated, and she lost best television drama actress to Viola Davis of “How to Get Away With Murder.”

Sarah Silverman, nominated for best film actress (drama) in “I Smile Back” lost to Brie Larson, who played a woman held hostage with a young son in “Room.”

There were some Jews in the winning enemble cast awards.

Liev Schreiber was a member of the best motion picture cast in “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s probe of child abuse in the Catholic Church.

“Orange is the New Black” won for best TV comedy cast, which included Jewish stars Yael Stone and Constance Shulman.

Laura Prepon, whose dad is Ashkenazi Jewish and mom Catholic (Prepon is a Scientologist), spoke for the series, which is set in a women’s prison.

Its cast includes white, black and Latina stars and a transgender woman (Laverne Cox).

“Look at this stage,” Prepon said. “This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. Different race, color, creed, sexual orientation.”

Prepon was referencing the elephant in the room: The outrage that no actors of color received an Academy Award nomination.

Davis was one of several black stars to win a SAG award:
- “Orange” star Uzo Aduba won best comedy series actress for playing kooky inmate Crazy Eyes.
- Queen Latifah won best actress in a TV miniseries for playing blues singer Bessie Smith in HBO’s “Bessie.”
- And Idris Elba, a black British actor, won two SAGs: best supporting actor for playing a mercenary commander in Netflix’s West African war drama “Beasts of No Nation,” and best actor in a limited series for BBC’s crime drama “Luther.”

“We made a film about real people and real lives, and to be awarded for that is very special,” Elba said of his “Beasts” win. — With REUTERS

Follow John A. Oswald on Twitter - @nyc_oz.

Following is a list of key winners:

MOVIES
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
“Spotlight”
BEST ACTOR
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
BEST ACTRESS
Brie Larson, “Room”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT Carol Burnett

TELEVISION
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST, DRAMA SERIES
“Downton Abbey”
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST, COMEDY SERIES
“Orange Is The New Black”
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Viola Davis, “How To Get Away with Murder”
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black”
BEST ACTOR, TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Idris Elba, “Luther”
BEST ACTRESS, TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Queen Latifah, “Bessie”

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Jeffrey Tambor Triumphs at SAG Awards, Where Oscar’s Diversity Problem Was the Buzz

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