‘Yellowstone’ could accomplish something at the SAG Awards that hasn’t been done since ‘Lost’

Yellowstone” has been a surprise every step of the way. Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s addictive drama following the lives of the complicated Dutton family seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago to become one of the most-talked about shows on television. Now, four explosive seasons later, it has surprised everyone once again, securing its first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for TV drama ensemble. However, the Paramount show, which stars Kevin Costner as the Dutton family patriarch and owner of the largest ranch in Montana, is the only nominee in the field that failed to also net at least an individual bid as well. While that doesn’t instill confidence in its ability to win, it might not be as damning as one might think.

Since the SAG Awards began in 1995, three shows have won the award for drama ensemble without receiving any individual nominations for their stars. HBO’s “Six Feet Under” was the first, going home triumphant in 2003. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Lost” followed in 2005 and 2006, respectively. If “Yellowstone” can pull it off, it’ll be the first show in more than 15 years to accomplish the feat. Not even “Big Little Lies,” with its stacked cast, was able to do that (it competed as a limited series during Season 1 and lost to “The Crown” in Season 2).

Currently, “Yellowstone” sits in fourth place at 9/2 in Gold Derby’s combined odds. “Succession,” the HBO drama about a wealthy and dysfunctional media family that “Yellowstone” has been compared to, leads the race with 16/5 odds and nine Experts predicting it to triumph. Sitting in second place is Netflix’s smash hit “Squid Game” with 19/5 odds. Meanwhile, Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” follows in third place (9/2 odds) after sitting out the last cycle, and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” (9/2 odds) rounds out the category.

SEE Full list of SAG Awards nominations

But if there’s enough support to net “Yellowstone” a bid for drama ensemble, what happened in the individual acting races? Well, in the case of drama actor, it’s simple: voters finally came around on “Succession” after ignoring it during its first two seasons. The extended pandemic-induced break between Seasons 2 and 3 gave SAG-AFTRA voters time to catch up on the show, which had been beloved by critics since its debut but really started to take off in its second season. Leads Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox were both recognized alongside Kieran Culkin, who would have been submitted in supporting had there been a separate category. This is the first time in history a show has yielded more than two co-star nominees in the drama actor category, which tells you all you need to know about how voters feel about the show.

So, unfortunately, this left just two of the five slots for the men of “Yellowstone.” Billy Crudup of “The Morning Show” was nominated during the show’s first season, so it’s not all that surprising he earned another bid when voters have already proven they like him and like his show (his co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon were recognized in actress as well). Meanwhile, “Squid Game” was an honest-to-goodness worldwide phenomenon in the period leading up to voting. So the cards were kind of stacked against “Yellowstone” in actor. And unfortunately the race for actress isn’t much better. Sarah Snook landed the sole nom for “Succession,” Aniston is a former winner for “The Morning Show,” and Elisabeth Moss is a perennial nominee for “The Handmaid’s Tale.” That once again left just two spots, and they once again went to actors from “The Morning Show” (Witherspoon) and “Squid Game” (Jung Ho-yeon).

Still, the fact that “Yellowstone” managed to sneak into the drama ensemble race shows that it clearly has a lot of support among SAG-AFTRA voters. It seems likely that the series simply ran into an unstoppable force in the individual races this time around (and if there were separate supporting categories, we might be having a totally different conversation). But for all of “Succession’s” individual acting bids, only a fool would count “Yellowstone” out of the drama ensemble race right now. It’s the type of show that plays well with the organization’s populist voting body, and its reach only seems to grow with each passing season. Plus, if there’s one thing we know about the show, it’s that it never fails to surprise us.

PREDICT the 2022 SAG Awards winners until Feb. 27

SAG Awards odds for Best TV Drama Ensemble
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