Shira Haas Becomes First Israeli TV Star Nominated for a Golden Globe

‘Unorthodox’ star Haas is accompanied by Sacha Baron Cohen, who got two nods for ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ and ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’

Shira Haas does an anxiety test in Netflix's "Unorthodox."
Shira Haas does an anxiety test in Netflix's "Unorthodox."Credit: Anika Molnar / Netflix

Shira Haas became the first Israeli TV star ever to be nominated for a Golden Globe on Wednesday, for her performance in Netflix’s acclaimed Hasidic drama “Unorthodox.”

The 25-year-old actress has already won many accolades worldwide for her performance in the show, which was itself nominated in the best television limited series category, when the nominations were announced in Los Angeles.

Netflix's 'Unorthodox' sensitively charts a woman's escape from a Hasidic sect

Haas plays a young Hasidic woman, Esther Shapiro, in the four-part series adapted from the 2012 book by Deborah Feldman. She drew almost universal praise for her moving performance, singing skills and command of Yiddish as her character flees her tight-knit Brooklyn community in search of a new life in Berlin.

The actress was nominated for an Emmy Award for the role last year, but lost out to “Watchmen” star Regina King. However, she did win the best actress award at the Tribeca Festival in New York for her performance in the Israeli film “Asia.” She also won the best supporting actress prize for the same role at last year's Ophir Awards in Israel.

Other noteworthy Golden Globe nominees on Wednesday included British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. He received two nominations: For his comedic turn in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” as the hapless Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev; and his more serious performance as Abbie Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

The latter is based on the infamous real-life trial of eight men indicted for conspiracy after widespread rioting during the Democratic convention in 1968.

The preserve of the notoriously idiosyncratic Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globes are seen as a harbinger for the more high-profile Academy Awards later in the spring. However, they are known for often honoring big names for their star status rather than actual performances that year.

Big Hollywood names being honored this year include Al Pacino, for his supporting role in the Nazi-hunting thriller “Hunters,” on Amazon Prime, and Nicole Kidman in HBO’s thriller “The Undoing.”

David Fincher’s biopic “Mank,” about Jewish screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz and his efforts to write “Citizen Kane” in 1940, topped the list of most-nominated films (six), followed closely by Sorkin’s “Chicago 7” with five.

The Dan Levy-created comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” in which he stars with his father, Eugene Levy, received five nominations in the TV categories, just behind Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Although no Israeli shows or films were nominated, Bryan Cranston was nominated for his performance in “Your Honor,” the U.S. remake of the Israeli show “Kvodo.”

Due to COVID restrictions, the 78th annual Golden Globes will take place in a virtual ceremony on February 28.

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