Israel’s TV industry woke up to its greatest-ever triumph Monday morning, basking in the unexpected victory of “Homeland” at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Based on Israeli TV series “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War), the show unseated four-time winner “Mad Men” in the drama series category, also claiming prizes for its writing and lead actor (Damian Lewis) and actress (Claire Danes).
As impressive as they were, those victories were already old news for American TV viewers by the time Israelis were waking up. Almost immediately, US Emmy viewers turned their attention to Danes’ acceptance speech, and particularly her salute to a Jewish co-star.
“Mandy Patinkin, holla,” the actress appeared to say, using a bit of hip-hop slang.
The phrase immediately soared to the top of Twitter’s trending topics, joining Angelina Jolie’s leg and Natalie Portman’s laugh as one of the more memorable, widely discussed elements of recent awards show history.
But had Danes said “holla” or “challah,” a reference to the Jewish heritage of Patinkin and his “Homeland” character, and to the show’s Israeli origins?
Probably not, but that didn’t stop some of Hollywood’s top entertainment reporters from joking about the issue, including the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff and Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.
Danes, as of this writing, hadn’t clarified the issue, although we imagine she’s spent enough time in Israel to know the difference between the two words. The day of her Emmy victory, the actress appeared on the cover of the New York Times’ T fashion magazine, raving about Israel and the warmth of its people.