Sunday night's Westworld season 2 finale is already one for the books, but it's actually an episode that went down a couple weeks ago that could truly make history. As Gold Derby points out, season 2 episode 8 "Kiksuya" was a standout thanks almost entirely to the performance of Zahn McClarnon as Akecheta. So good, in fact, that it could land the actor a nomination for Best Drama Supporting Actor at this year's Emmys, making him the first Native American actor nominated for a continuing series.
Last year, Westworld's Best Drama Supporting Actor nomination went to Jeffrey Wright, but now that he's been bumped up to a lead this season, there's an open spot for the coveted nomination, and it has the potential to make history.
The Academy's relationship with Native American actors has been publicly uneven. In 1973, Marlon Brando boycotted his Godfather acceptance speech and instead asked actress Sacheen Littlefeather to go in his place, where she explained the actor was protesting the poor treatment Native Americans receive in the industry.
As for the Emmy's, McClarnon's potential nomination would only be the second Native American Emmy nomination in any category. In 2007, August Schellenberg was up for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for the HBO telefilm Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The award ultimately went to Thomas Haden Church in Broken Trail.
This year, the Emmy's have a chance to start changing their reputation by acknowledging the hard work of a Native American actor whose performance carried the only episode of Westworld I've understood.