Better Call Saul/ Image credit: Printerval
Image credit: Printerval

The 2024 Emmys: Saul or nothing

The handing out of the 2024 Prime time Emmy Awards was hosted by Black-ish star Anthony Anderson at the Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles. The biggest night in television saw awards hand ed out to a variety of shows released between 1 June 2022 and 31 May 2023.

Among the best dressed of the evening were Sarah Snook in a red Vivienne Westwood dress and Selena Gomez wearing Oscar de la Renta. A common theme among the celebrities who graced the red carpet was glamorously decadent red gowns and fringes. Most male celebrities stuck to classy black tailored tuxedos. Some fashion choices, including Donald Glover’s questionable ballerina slippers and Charlie Puth’s oversized white coat, broke the mould. Aubrey Plaza’s playful Loewe gown, which featured an oversized pin, broke the internet and was compared to a post-it note in social media memes.

There were two clear winners from the night. The comedy-drama show The Bear, about a frustrated chef returning to his hometown of Chicago to run his deceased brother’s sandwich shop, earned an incredible 10 awards (from 13 nominations), including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series ( Jeremy Allen White as Carmy Berzatto), and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Ayo Edebiri as Sydney Adamu).

The other winner from the night was HBO’s Succession, the fourth and final season of which premiered earlier this year. The iconic drama about the dysfunctional Roy family and their media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo earned six major awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Sarah Snook as Siobhan ‘Shiv’ Roy), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Matthew Macfayden as Tom Wambsgams). It is also important to note that Succession’s writer, Jesse Armstrong, has now won four out of four possible Emmys for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

Better Call Saul has now set the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win

Other notable successes on the night include the limited series Beef, which won five awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which won Outstanding Scripted Variety Series. Sir Elton John also achieved the highly coveted EGOT status, winning Outstanding Variety Special (Live) for his Farewell from Dodger Stadium show on Disney+.

However, as is the case every year, the awards show (and awards season in general) was plagued by multiple accusations of ‘snubbing’ a plethora of great shows and talented actors and actresses. Most infuriating among these is the incredible Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad prequel show about lawyer Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) journey to becoming Saul Goodman. Despite its critical acclaim and suggestions that the show is better than its more famous older brother, Better Call Saul has now set the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win (53 nominations).

Can they really claim to be the most prestigious awards in TV while failing to give a single Emmy to one of the greatest shows

As someone lucky enough to watch the final season of Better Call Saul when it was coming out, I was appalled by this statistic, and in particular the Emmy’s persistent refusal to acknowledge the show’s two leading actors: Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman and Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, his partner in crime and love interest. While I am not denying that Kieran Culkin deserved the Lead Actor award for his masterful portrayal of Roman in Succession, Odenkirk moulded Saul Goodman from the comic relief side-character of Breaking Bad into one of the most iconic and complex characters of all time.

Naturally, this issue brings the relevance of the Emmys into question: can they really claim to be the most prestigious awards in TV while failing to give a single Emmy to one of the greatest shows of all time? This is not a novel phenomenon, with other questionable Emmy choices including giving Outstanding Drama Series to the atrociously disappointing final season of Game of Thrones (over such masterpieces as Succession, Ozark, and Better Call Saul itself ) or failing to ever nominate the once under appreciated and now-revered crime drama The Wire.

Ultimately, this year’s Emmys are indicative of the fact that it doesn’t take an award to appreciate a good show and that winning one is just the cherry on top. After all, no one can reasonably claim that their enjoyment of Better Call Saul was hindered by the fact that it never won an Emmy or argue that Succession is only good because it won an Emmy. Even the red carpet looks at the Emmys, which might be reflective of the latest fashion trends and quirky personas of celebrities, are not the most stunning or wearable looks in daily life. The Emmys, in my view, hold a largely symbolic position in television and fashion. While it is of course wonderful for one’s favourite show to be recognised by them, it is important that we do not allow a 15-inch-tall statuette to dictate our feelings.


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