Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran Don Cheadle made a brief but memorable guest appearance in the series premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as James Rhodes, and Cheadle's first turn as Rhodey on TV was enough for him to score a nomination for the 2021 Emmys. He's up for the trophy in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series category, up against some formidable competition, but there are already some fans arguing that Cheadle didn't deserve the nomination at all. And Don Cheadle is clapping back.
Don Cheadle, who will star in his own Disney+ MCU series as Rhodey down the line, initially hit Twitter to acknowledge his Emmy nomination in a pretty fun way, before he started clapping back at who he dubbed the "haters." Take a look!
The main objection that fans online seem to have with Don Cheadle being nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor (up against the likes of Courtney B. Vance of the sadly cancelled Lovecraft Country, Charles Dance of The Crown, and Timothy Olyphant and Carl Weathers from The Mandalorian) is that Rhodey didn't actually have much screentime on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, particularly compared to the competition in the category. Cheadle responded to a fan who suggested that he "step down" to make room for a different actor:
Considering the nominations are in and have been announced, Don Cheadle seems to have a much better handle on the Emmy process than the person telling him to step down on social media. It's a bit late for Cheadle not to be nominated for his latest performance as Rhodey! Another person on Twitter took a different tack regarding his divisive Emmy nomination:
According to that particular fan, Don Cheadle deserves the accolade, and it's the fault of the "moronic Emmy committee" that Cheadle scored a nomination for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Not quite the most passionate defense of Cheadle, if you ask me, and the actor himself didn't seem to know what to make of it. To contrast, his reaction to another person suggesting that he try to give the nomination to somebody else is pretty entertaining:
That Twitter fan may not have gotten the reaction they were looking for, but at least they can say they made Don Cheadle laugh! And there was somebody on social media who pointed out what some of the people complaining about Cheadle's nomination evidently missed, and Cheadle gave a gif of approval:
As Don Cheadle's supporter noted, not being in the running isn't really an option once the nominations are in, unlike when former Grey's Anatomy actress Katherine Heigl withdrew her own name from Emmy consideration before the nomination process was finished because she felt the material wasn't Emmy-worthy. And Marlon Brando also famously did not attend the 1973 Academy Awards to make a statement, but he still won the Oscar for his role in The Godfather.
All things considered, Don Cheadle seems more amused than offended at the people on social media who are already complaining at the Outstanding Guest Actor nomination. And it's worth noting that there are plenty of people on Twitter supporting Cheadle and congratulating him for the nomination, which helped put superhero series on the map for awards contention when the genre is usually ignored by the major TV awards events.
Don Cheadle's nomination was the only one for Falcon and the Winter Soldier, although fellow MCU series WandaVision scored several nominations in big categories, and Amazon's The Boys is in the running for Outstanding Drama Series. If you want to check out Cheadle's latest appearance as Rhodey, you can find The Falcon and the Winter Soldier streaming on Disney+ now!