‘Yellowstone’: Why Taylor Sheridan Can’t Seem to Get Much Emmy Award Recognition

by Lauren Boisvert
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“Yellowstone” was snubbed yet again for the Emmy Awards, with both Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly missing out on nominations this year (not to mention, no nominations for “1883” actors). The show has been nominated once for an Emmy, though they’ve won three Western Heritage Awards, one Cinema Audio Society Award, and one Academy of Country Music Award.

But, it’s just not the Emmys. Does “Yellowstone” deserve an Emmy? Yeah, I’d say so. And so does the rest of the cast. But what is it about this show that doesn’t hit with the Television Academy voters? Four years on TV and it’s been nominated once, but not for any performances; just for production design on one episode. What I’d like to know is this: what gives?

Taylor Sheridan’s works are so widely popular, that he’s working on about 9 different shows right now. He’s in high demand, clearly. But the Television Academy just doesn’t love him like the regular, everyday people do. That’s what it seems like, anyway.

According to Deadline, this could be because many critics and Academy voters think of “Yellowstone” as just another Western. And yes, it is a Western, and it is a bit of a soap opera. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. It’s also deeply into politics, and tribal social issues, and environmental policies, and gentrification. “Yellowstone” is layered beyond being a cowboy show.

Why ‘Yellowstone’ Isn’t Getting the Award Love it Deserves

We love “Yellowstone” in this house, clearly, so given the chance, we’d 100 percent vote for it. But, we want to know why it’s not getting the love it deserves. Part of this issue, according to Deadline, could be the comments “1883” star Sam Elliott came under fire for about Netflix’s “Power of the Dog.” He ripped into the Western film, its star Benedict Cumberbatch, and director Jane Campion. He later recanted his statements and apologized, but the damage was done. And Elliott is firmly linked with “1883” and “Yellowstone.” He did the franchise no favors there.

This may just be a classic case of voters not having time to watch everything. Some shows fall through the cracks, but falling through the cracks four years in a row? I’m not saying it seems deliberate, but we don’t exactly know what’s going on in the voters’ heads. Some may not vote for it because they think enough of their colleagues will vote for it to get a nomination. But, again, four years in a row? I’m not trying to create a conspiracy here, but it seems a little too questionable.

Conspiracy? Or Just Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea?

Have we considered that it’s just not aligned with the voters’ tastes? It’s possible the voters just don’t want to watch “Yellowstone,” and so they don’t take it into consideration. Admittedly, “Yellowstone” is a lot; Beth Dutton is over the top, Rip is killing people left and right, John Dutton is out of control when provoked. The first episode alone has two big murders. It’s melodramatic, and everyone is just melancholy and vengeance-driven enough to cause the right amount of drama.

But, at the end of the day, sometimes it’s just unrealistic. Those voters looking for realism, or subtlety, aren’t going to find it in “Yellowstone.” It’s escapism, pure and simple. Sure, it deals with real-world problems–the expansion of civilization, land disputes, rich people moving to Montana to get the “cowboy experience”–but, truly, it’s entertainment. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Or glass of whiskey, if we’re sticking with the “Yellowstone” theme. It’s much more than a cowboy show, but it’s hard getting to the meat of the series when you have a limited time and many, many shows to watch. It’s very possible that the Academy voters just didn’t give it enough time to get really good.

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