Quibi, the short form streaming service that's a flop no matter how much Jeffrey Katzenberg blames the pandemic for its failure, admittedly had a great day on Tuesday, earning 10 nominations in the short form categories, including Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for Most Dangerous Game and Reno 911!, and acting nominations for #FreeRayshawn's Stephan James, Laurence Fishburne, and Jasmine Cephas Jones; Most Dangerous Game's Christoph Waltz; Survive's Corey Hawkins; Dummy's Anna Kendrick; Flipped's Kaitlin Olson; and Reno 911!'s Kerri Kenney-Silver. That's more nominations than Showtime or AMC. Congratulations to Quibi, no one can say you didn't get 10 Emmy nominations in short form categories.
But you know who got zero nominations this year, despite portraying the best character on TV? Better Call Saul's Rhea Seehorn, whose performance as conflicted lawyer Kim Wexler on AMC's Breaking Bad spin-off is the kind of performance the Emmys are ostensibly designed to recognize.
Season 5 was supposed to be Seehorn's year, as she gave a complex, emotionally devastating performance that balanced tight control and explosive vulnerability. Whether she was advocating for her slipping partner Jimmy "Saul Goodman" McGill (Bob Odenkirk) against a menacing drug lord (Tony Dalton) in a fiery monologue, trying to manipulate an ornery old man into a cooperating with her firm by strategically deploying some previously unknown personal details of her childhood, or doing a weirdly sexy impression of her good ol' boy client, she was magnificent, embodying Kim's against-her-better-judgment slide into serious legal malfeasance alongside Jimmy. Seehorn took the incredible material the writers gave her and elevated it to something even better. Christoph Waltz is a great actor, but he didn't do that on Most Dangerous Game. Most Dangerous Game sucked, and he wasn't even able to keep it from sucking, let alone elevate something already great.
Rhea Seehorn should have been nominated for all five of Better Call Saul's seasons, but she hasn't been nominated for any. The Television Academy has one more chance to right that wrong, as Saul will air one more season, but our hopes are not high. Despite Season 5 being the best season of Saul yet, Bob Odenkirk has himself slipped from the Best Actor nominees after being nominated for the four previous seasons, replaced by The Morning Show's Steve Carell, who played a character the show didn't know what to do with. Michael Mando and Patrick Fabian have also been overlooked throughout the show's run. And don't get me started on Michael McKean not getting nominated for Season 3, which I'm still cranky about three years later. If this pattern holds, Saul will probably go down in history alongside The Wire as the greatest drama to never win a single Emmy. It's currently at 39 nominations, zero wins. Zero!
This year, Saul is nominated for Drama Series, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Music Supervision, Supporting Actor for Giancarlo Esposito (who is a double nominee this year, also earning a Guest Star nod for The Mandalorian, shoutout to him), and twice for writing: Thomas Schnauz for "Bad Choice Road" and Gordon Smith for "Bagman." Given the Television Academy's history, it isn't looking likely that the show will win any of those, and Emmy voters will have to do some self-examination to find why that is. They make worse decisions than Jimmy McGill himself, and that's on them. The rest of us will give Rhea Seehorn every trophy we have in our hearts. And I admit that it's a false equivalence to compare Rhea Seehorn to Quibi, but Rhea Seehorn is more successful at she does than Quibi is at what it does.
The 72nd Primetime Emmys will air Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on ABC. Better Call Saul is available to stream on Netflix. Quibi is available to stream on Quibi.
(P.S. No disrespect to Flipped, a funny show, but the fact that Kaitlin Olson finally got an Emmy nomination for that show but still has never been nominated for her legendary performance as Dee Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is yet another Emmys injustice.)