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TV shows that got Emmy nominations over Yellowstone

On September 20, 2020, a whole new round of Emmy awards is set to be doled out to the outreached hands of television's brightest stars ... with one notable exception: those involved with Yellowstone. The critically acclaimed Western drama, which airs on Paramount Network, somehow flew under the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' radar, garnering zero nominations. To put that into perspective, Yellowstone was nominated for fewer Emmys this year than Dylan McDermott. The Masked Singer got a nod and Yellowstone didn't. Jeffrey Wright, who's unquestionably an excellent actor, spent all of Westworld's third season looking sleepy and confused, and he got a nomination this year. Kevin Costner has looked tired and confused for decades, but his work on Yellowstone goes unsung.

It's through that lens that many TV fans look at this year's Emmy nominations — not as a series of celebrations of performances made by astounding actors, but as a collection of barbed snubs against the cast and crew of Yellowstone.

Kevin Costner wasn't nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but Jason Bateman was

Let's start with Ozarkthe original drama from streaming behemoth Netflix, the distributor with the most nominations going into the 2020 Emmys. For the third consecutive year, Ozark series producer and star Jason Bateman has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Marty Byrd. And for the third consecutive year, Kevin Costner hasn't been recognized at the Emmys for his performance as John Dutton on Yellowstone.

Is Bateman's performance a head-turner? Of course. Has it received critical acclaim since day one, nabbing the Arrested Development alum a Screen Actors Guild award and a Primetime Emmy already? Without a doubt. Has his performance as Marty Byrd, a money launderer trying to keep his head above water, been described by critics as "wry" and "brilliant" — with some pointing to Bateman himself as the keystone to the third season's marked uptick in critical acclaim? For sure.

But for many, Yellowstone's Kevin Costner — history's most midwestern Robin Hood and the creative mind behind that O.K. Corral movie from the '90s, the one that wasn't Tombstone — deserves recognition as well, just as much as Ozark's Bateman and the rest of the actors nominated for Emmys in the drama series category: This Is Us' Sterling K. Brown, The Morning Show's Steve Carell, Succession's Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong, and Pose's Billy Porter.

No Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominations for Yellowstone

One of the best crime series with strong female leads, BBC America's Killing Eve has its talons deep in the 72nd Primetime Emmys — with nominations not just for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, but also two separate nods for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: one for Sandra Oh (who plays Eve Polastri), and another for Jodie Comer (who plays Villanelle). Both performers have essentially been bathing in recognition for their powerhouse turns as a conflicted law enforcement official and the globetrotting murder enthusiast she's sworn to take down but ends up morbidly obsessed with. BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Emmys, TV Choice Awards — all of these and more have been piled on top of these consistently remarkable actresses for their spectacularly human depictions of Eve and Villanelle, and their representation of man's duality incarnate.

Kelly Reilly, who plays Beth Dutton on Paramount's flagship series Yellowstone, received no nomination. This in spite of the fact that her character is depicted as being both self sufficient and — in a very awards-baiting twist — suffering from substance abuse issues. To many Yellowstone fans, Reilly should be on the list of nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — sitting beside Oh, Comer, Jennifer Aniston (for The Morning Show), Olivia Colman (for The Crown), Laura Linney (for Ozark), and Zendaya (for Euphoria).

Yellowstone wasn't nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, but The Mandalorian was

Yellowstone also failed to capture an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. Want to know what did?

John Favreau's Disney+ success machine The Mandalorian landed a nom for Outstanding Drama Series, which makes sense seeing as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has always had a soft spot for shows where a puppet baby holds a space rhinoceros in the air with its brain magic. The Crown's third season was nominated as well (in spite of a precipitous drop in John Lithgow screen time). HBO's Succession picked up a nod for Outstanding Drama Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, as did AMC's Better Call Saul and Netflix's third season of Stranger Things.

In the end, we may never know why the Emmys overlooked Yellowstone. Maybe it's political. Maybe it's that the series producers refuse to play the Hollywood game. Or maybe it's that Yellowstone got lukewarm reviews, with even its more positive critics calling it "on the more entertaining end of the disposable action melodrama spectrum." In any case, it's a shame.