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Yellowstone's Wes Bentley Feels The Connection To Fans Is Deeper Than Academy Recognition

"Yellowstone" is a bonafide hit for Paramount Network. Now in its fifth season, which debuted to 12 million viewers (via The Hollywood Reporter), Taylor Sheridan's neo-Western centers on the Dutton family as they battle their foes to maintain control of their ranch and the massive acreage it sits on. The wildly popular series has initiated a whole "Yellowstone" universe, with one prequel, "1883," premiering in 2021 and a new one, "1923," coming in December 2022 (via Variety).

Yet despite its ratings and devoted fanbase, "Yellowstone's" success hasn't necessarily translated into awards or industry acclaim. Despite an Emmy campaign in 2022, its fourth season did not come away with any nominations, not even for stars Kevin Costner or Kelly Reilly, who play John Dutton and his troubled daughter Beth, respectively. Many claimed it was snubbed, especially after it had received a Screen Actors Guild ensemble nomination earlier in the year.

Though awards nominations and wins are always welcome, the cast still sees other markers of success as being more validating, namely the viewership and audiences they are able to connect to.

Yellowstone actor Wes Bentley says he knows the show is successful because 'people are watching it'

At the season five premiere, Wes Bentley, who plays the eldest brother Jamie Dutton, commented on the show's award snubs to the Daily Mail. "I personally don't think awards validate anything," he said. "It's an honor, as they say, but as far as it saying whether we are doing something good or not, that's not what that is." He further remarked that many deserving shows go unrecognized while those that don't deserve the attention are also awarded.

Overall, Bentley was thankful for the viewers and their conversations. "I know we are a success because the people are watching it. The conversation I have with fans are so much deeper than the usual," he told the Daily Mail. His co-star Gil Birmingham, who plays Chairman Thomas Rainwater, agreed with Bentley, saying that having a loyal audience is much more important than awards. He also added that Westerns have never been widely recognized by awards groups. "Westerns are not a genre that, historically speaking, typically gets rewarded," Birmingham said.

With a successful season five airing now and presumably more seasons on the way, Taylor Sheridan and the cast and crew still have plenty of time to land some awards recognition.