This fall, the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will honor those who shine brightest in television. Three Strasberg alumni have been honored with nominations this year. Rachel Brosnahan has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Laura Dern is up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her work in The Tale, and Alec Baldwin is vying for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel sees Brosnahan transform into Midge Maisel, an Upper West Side housewife who gets swept up in the world of standup comedy after her husband leaves her for his secretary. The series’ show-runner is Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls fame, who described Brosnahan as someone who “blew in like a hurricane” during her audition for Maisel (NY Times). Brosnahan’s performance expertly balances that schmaltzy humor of the great borscht belt tradition with the honesty and vulnerability of a woman unraveling. Midge is a dynamic woman, who ebbs and flows. She is seen both downing a bottle of red wine on the subway and delivering punchline after punchline at her own wedding reception. Brosnahan tells The New York Times she is inspired by Midge’s drive saying, “If she doesn’t know things, she wants to know them. And she doesn’t know any other way than forward.”
Laura Dern’s performance in The Tale sees her delve into the world of childhood sexual abuse. Dern plays Jennifer Fox, the writer and director of The Tale itself. Fox, a documentary filmmaker by trade, chose to dramatize the real-life story of her experience being raped by her track coach at 13 years old. The Tale also deals with the principle of recalled memories, in that Fox begins to remember this harrowing era of her life after she is presented with an essay she wrote as a young girl by her mother. Fox begins to piece her memories together and discovers a moment in time she had completely blacked out of her consciousness. Dern speaks of the immense courage it took to get The Tale greenlit, as it started production three years before the advent of #MeToo coming into the zeitgeist. “There’s reward in being a witness to something and using your voice” Dern tells Variety. “There is therefore less fear, through a piece of art that you make, to all have conversations together and hopefully allow it to be the groundbreaking time we all so desperately need.”
Alec Baldwin has gained great critical acclaim in his portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. Baldwin has had a long standing relationship with SNL; he currently holds the record for the hosting the show most frequently at seventeen episodes. Since 2016, Baldwin has regularly appeared as Trump in every situation from a recent press conference with Baltic leaders to showering with Paul Manafort to the wiretap scandal with Michael Cohen, in a skit featuring the real Stormy Daniels. Baldwin’s performance has drawn ire from the president, who tweeted “Alec Baldwin, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me on SNL, now says playing me was agony. Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch.” Baldwin previously won in this same category at the 69th Emmy Awards and holds two previous Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock.
The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on NBC on Monday, September 17 at 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. The Tale can be found on HBO and HBO Go. Previous episodes of Saturday Night Live featuring Alec Baldwin can be found streaming on Hulu.
Alumni News is written by NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumnus Will Brockman. If you are an alum and have a story you think should be featured, please email [email protected].