Don Cheadle was in precisely one scene in the very first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, where his James Rhodes had a brief conversation with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson about the legacy and importance of Captain America’s shield.
It was more a cameo to tie the premiere of the Disney Plus series closer to the wider world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe rather than a pivotal exchange of dialogue that wound up being integral to the plot, but it was still more than enough to see the actor shortlisted for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series at the upcoming Emmys.
It marks Cheadle’s eleventh Emmy nomination in total since he was first recognized for playing Sammy Davis Jr. in 1998 miniseries The Rat Pack, but he clearly doesn’t rank his one-scene supporting performance as worthy of awards season glory. The 56 year-old took to social media in the aftermath of the announcement, and shared the puzzlement of many fans, as you can see below.
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As one of the MCU’s longest-serving stars, having made his franchise debut eleven years ago after replacing Terrence Howard for Iron Man 2, Cheadle’s Rhodey has become one of the long-running saga’s most pivotal supporting players. While he isn’t often afforded mountains of screentime, he usually contributes much more to the movies than he did to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so it’s more than a little ironic that he got himself an Emmy nomination for doing the bare minimum.
Maybe he’ll be back in the thick of the race in a couple of years time, though, should Armor Wars follow in the footsteps of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision by finding plenty of awards season recognition.