Rhea Seehorn: 4 reasons why she’ll score her first Emmy nomination for ‘Better Call Saul’

For her fan-favorite role as Kim Wexler, Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”) currently ranks fourth in Gold Derby’s collective odds for Best Drama Supporting Actress, which has six nominations slots. This confidence is striking because the Emmys snubbed her for the first three seasons of AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” but Seehorn has much in her favor this year that she did not previously. Below, I lay out four reason why Seehorn will finally score her first Emmy bid this year.

1. She is out of the probationary period

It often takes years for the Emmys to nominate breakthrough performances, with consensus only forming initially for more familiar names. The most obvious parallel is Anna Gunn in “Breaking Bad.” Gunn was not nominated until the fourth season, then won Best Drama Supporting Actress the next two years. Co-star Aaron Paul became the most-awarded Best Drama Supporting Actor in Emmy history, with three wins, but even he was snubbed for the first season, when the only acting nominee for the show was Bryan Cranston, whom the Emmys had nominated three times for “Malcolm in the Middle” in the previous six years.

“House of Cards” received acting nominations for only Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and Golden Globe nominee Robin Wright for its first season, then doubled its haul for the second season, then won an acting Emmy for repeat Best Drama Guest Actor nominee Reg E. Cathey in the third season, which also marked the first of three consecutive Best Drama Supporting Actor nominations for Michael Kelley.

2. The Emmys are often a year behind

Seehorn has been building to a critical mass. She won the Satellite Award for each of the first two seasons, then won the Saturn Award for the third season and was nominated at the Critics’ Choice Awards for the fourth, for which she is currently eligible at the Emmys. It might seem worrisome that co-star Michael McKean was snubbed for his series-best work in the third season, but timing probably hurt him. The third season was still airing when voting for the nominations opened, so voters would have had to have been caught up on the newest episodes in order to catch his best work.

McKean will likely score a nomination this year in Best Drama Guest Actor, a category that exemplified his situation last year with nominations for F. Murray Abraham of “Homeland” and Jimmi Simpson of “Westworld.” Abraham was the big bad on “Homeland” two years ago and was snubbed as that season was still airing into voting, but he was nominated last year, despite appearing in only one scene. Simpson was the male romantic lead of “Westworld” two years ago and was snubbed, then nominated last year for his limited role in a season that aired into voting. He was nominated over Peter Mullan, who had more scenery to chew, but carried over no goodwill from the prior season because he was not in it. It has been almost a year since the fourth season of “Better Call Saul” aired and two years since the third, so voters have surely seen strong work from Seehorn by now.

3. She has raised her profile

“Better Call Saul” is taking an extended hiatus, but Seehorn has kept busy with roles this spring alone in “The Act,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Veep.” These increase her familiarity to voters and demonstrate her range. The Emmys often give a warm embrace to their discoveries, like when Riz Ahmed received a Best Comedy Guest Actor nomination for “Girls” the same year that he won Best Movie/Limited Actor for “The Night Of;” these were his first nominations. The year before when Laurie Metcalf received a Best Drama Guest Actress nomination for “Horace and Pete,” the Emmys also finally nominated her in Best Comedy Actress for “Getting On” after two snubs for that role and in Best Comedy Guest Actress for “The Big Bang Theory” after six snubs for that role.

4. There are open slots and her show has a knack for taking those

Inertia tends to rule awards, but “Better Call Saul” receives and loses nominations with little correlation to anything other than the strength of the competition in the particular category, appearing not to be on an upward or downward trajectory overall, yet consistently on the cusp of a nomination. The Screen Actors Guild snubbed only the second season in Best Drama Actor, but that is the only season that the American Cinema Editors have triple-nominated. The Producers Guild snubbed only the third season, but that has been the only season that the the Emmys have nominated for Best Drama Directing. The Writers Guild snubbed only the fourth season for Best Drama Episode, but that is the only season that the Screen Actors Guild has nominated for its ensemble. Competition is shallow among dramas at the Emmys this year, so this would be when any of its contenders on the cusp would be nominated.

Lena Headey of “Game of Thrones” is the only incumbent Best Drama Supporting Actress nominee eligible to repeat her nomination, so Seehorn might move up to a nomination even if she makes no gains in support this year. Julia Garner of “Ozark” and Maisie Williams of “Game of Thrones” rank immediately ahead of Seehorn in the odds and she is followed by Susan Kelechi Watson of “This is Us” and Fiona Shaw of “Killing Eve;” the Emmys snubbed all four of these competitors last year.

PREDICT the Emmys now; change them until July 16

Be sure to make your 2019 Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominations are announced on July 16. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s newsletter with experts’ latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby