Marvel Studios had a good day at the Emmy nominations. Its first Disney+ series, WandaVision, earned 23 nods, while its followup, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, scored five nods of its own. Falcon & Winter Soldier was honored mostly for its technical achievements, in categories like Outstanding Sound Editing, Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Stunt Coordination, and Outstanding Stunt Performance. All of those make sense. It was a good-looking series.

But The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also got an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series award for Don Cheadle, who plays James Rhodes AKA War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cheadle is an incredible actor — check him out in the new HBO Max movie No Sudden Move for the latest proof of that — but his appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier amounted to little more than a cameo. He appeared in the series’ first episode along side Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, talked a little bit about Steve Rogers and the legacy of Captain America, and vanished. That was it! And he got an Emmy nomination for it.

If you’re surprised, imagine how Cheadle feels. He posted his reaction to Twitter earlier today, writing “thanks, well wishers. sorry, haters.” He also admitted “i don't really get it either. buuuuuuuuuut on we go ...”

The nomination is even more baffling because The Falcon and the Winter Soldier received no other acting nominations. I’m not sure much of the show was Emmy worthy, but I do think Carl Lumbly made a very powerful guest actor as Isaiah Bradley, the first African American man to receive the Super Soldier Serum decades ago. Lumbly had several excellent scenes with Mackie across multiple episodes, and his dialogue with Sam Wilson actually played a key role in the plot, as opposed to Cheadle’s cameo, which was basically just a nice Easter egg.

Hell, even Daniel Bruhl was more worthy of a nomination for Baron Zemo. But I guess the Emmys got rid of their Best Disaffected Club Dancing category a few years ago. In any event, congrats to Don Cheadle. On we go...

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