How ‘The Bear’ Could Break Multiple Emmy Records Held by ‘Game of Thrones,’ ’30 Rock’ and ‘Succession’

The Bear

With the appetite of a hungry grizzly, “The Bear” could gobble up a few Emmy records for its sophomore season. Fresh off a smashing first season that set a new benchmark for comedy series wins with 10 trophies, FX’s awards-gobbling show shows no signs of letting up. Its second season, which aired in June 2023, is eyeing three more records to own: most acting nominations for a series in a single year, most nods for a comedy, and most nominated episode in history with its sixth installment, “Fishes.”

“Fishes” dishes out a heated Christmas dinner flashback of the Berzatto family, positioning itself as the series’ pièce de résistance thus far — imagine the “Succession/Connor’s Wedding” version of family dinners, only with more food spills. Directed by Christopher Storer, who also co-wrote the episode with Joanna Calo, “Fishes” seems the obvious pick for Emmy nods in both directing and writing categories.

Per Emmy rules, Storer, who also helmed seven episodes this season, must choose only one for his potential directing nomination (and really, how could he not choose “Fishes”?). Meanwhile, Calo will be torn between “Sundae,” which explores the fissures in Carmy and Sydney’s partnership, and “Pop,” showcasing a blossoming romance with Claire. Ramy Youssef’s “Honeydew,” which takes viewers on a culinary trip to Copenhagen with Marcus, is Youssef’s sole directorial bet but stands a strong chance of recognition (he also has his stand-up special in other categories).

“The Bear”

In the writing stakes, Storer single-handedly crafted the season opener “Beef” and will be able to submit accordingly. Additionally, he teamed up with Calo on “Fishes” and “Omelette,” leaving them the (easy?) decision of choosing their strongest contender. With a squad of brilliant scribes, including Karen Joseph Adcock and Catherine Schetina for “Sundae” and several others across the season, “The Bear” could tie or eclipse the “30 Rock” record of the most writing nominations in a year with four in 2009, also shared with “The Wonder Years” in 1989.

Speaking of NBC’s “30 Rock,” its record-setting haul of 22 noms in 2009 is the pinnacle for comedies. But hold onto your chef’s hats — current Variety Emmy projections, which don’t yet include artisan categories, suggest “The Bear” might snatch up 23 nods, potentially creeping closer to the all-time series record of 32 held by “Game of Thrones.” Can it overcome both? The latter will be more difficult, but it could have a shot to tie or break another “GOT” record for the most noms for a single episode. It was in 2016 when the penultimate episode titled “Battle of the Bastards” won six of its seven Emmy nominations, tying the record with the pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” Could “Fishes” surpass HBO’s all-time bloody episode?

Turning to the acting front, “Fishes” may be a goldmine for nominations, showcasing talents like John Mulaney, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Witaske, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jon Bernthal. Regular cast members in the episode, such as Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Oliver Platt and Abby Elliott, are also in the mix, aiming for main acting recognition.

Curtis, riding high two years after her Oscar win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” is the undisputed frontrunner in the guest comedy actress race, eyeing what could be her second career Emmy nod that could bring her halfway to EGOT status (I can’t wait for a potential spoken word album).

Also in the Emmy race are recurring characters like Robert Townsend, who lights up the screen as Sydney’s supportive father, Emmanuel. After five decades in Hollywood, his sentimental turn across four episodes could earn him the first Emmy nod of his career, especially if TV Academy members are going all-in on “Bear.” Meanwhile, Emmy nominee Will Poulter (“The White Lotus”) also makes a strong impression in “Honeydew” as Luca, a dessert chef mentoring Marcus, who could slip into the fray.

Liza Colón-Zayas in “The Bear”

Reigning supporting actor champion Moss-Bachrach returns as the gruff yet endearing Richie, as seen in the incredibly focused “Forks.” He’ll be ready to defend his title. He could bring in his co-stars like Lionel Boyce, Matty Matheson and last year’s guest comedy actor nominee Oliver Platt, who qualifies for a supporting bid this time. Meanwhile, Ayo Edebiri, last year’s supporting comedy actress winner, has shifted to lead, leaving the field open for her acting colleagues including Liza Colón-Zayas, Abby Elliott, and Molly Gordon, all worthy of nominations, who are praying not to vote-split. However, the fierce competition in the supporting comedy actress race, particularly with duplicate and repeat nominees such as “Abbott Elementary” and “Hacks,” leaves any of them vulnerable. Moreover, we expect seven nominees, based on submission tracking showing less than 240 total submissions, adding another hurdle.

When you add all those potential acting mentions, we seem to be barreling towards “Succession’s” back-to-back records set in 2022 and 2023, when it landed the most acting nominations with 14, surpassing the limited series “Roots.” Could this be an overwhelming lovefest for the very serious comedy?

In this culinary-themed TV world, it’s clear the stakes are as high as the flavors of the series are bold, and it’ll be dropping what’s sure to be another delightful third season in the voting window. Whether “The Bear” will devour the competition at the Emmys doesn’t seem up for debate, but one question remains: Will the serving size of nominations be turned into an Emmy statue buffet?

Emmy submissions are due Tuesday, May 7, with the eligibility deadline for all series concluding their runs by May 31. Nominations-round voting runs from June 13 to June 24.

From Variety US