‘The Bear’: Which Season Two Guest Star Could Win the Emmy?
After devouring the second season of The Bear, Awards Insider’s Rebecca Ford and David Canfield gathered to take a look at the cornucopia of guest stars that dropped by, and the ones who might be a part of next year’s Emmy guest-star conversation.
Rebecca Ford: After a knockout first season, there were high expectations for the second installment of culinary dramedy The Bear. And the show did not disappoint. Not only did they bring back the drama in the kitchen of the Beef/Bear but they boldly showcased supporting talent with stand-alone episodes and deeper dives into the characters’ personal lives and pasts. One of the best side effects of this expanded season was a truly insane parade of guest stars. In the flashback sixth episode, we get to meet Carmy’s extended family, and it feels like every character was played by a very famous face. Plus, an Oscar winner even drops by the kitchen in episode seven. I have to assume when you have one of TV’s biggest breakout shows of the year, actors are clamoring to drop by for a visit, but this packed lineup seemed beyond the norm.
While The Bear’s first season is eligible for the current Emmy race, this second season will be a part of the 2024 race. So yes, we are getting a little ahead of ourselves. But David, let’s attempt to forecast what might happen with the guest star race for this show next year. With so many surprise appearances, it’ll be hard to pick, but we might as well break down who showed up, what they did, and why that might put them in the conversation next season. Where shall we begin?
David Canfield: Episode six probably makes the most sense, with big names appearing on either side of it, but the bulk of them gathered around this chaotic dinner table. But before we get into all of those exciting names, I think it’s worth highlighting the continued brilliant work of Jon Bernthal, who may be nominated as a guest in a few weeks for season one. As Carmy’s brother Mikey, he’s explosive, the heartbreaking loss of his character in the present informing every beat of his flashback performance. In this episode, he’s so dialed in that I held my breath during the climactic scene, when he gets into a fork-tossing showdown with Bob Odenkirk’s uncle. It’s not a particularly funny turn, but it’s brilliant, and I hope it gets recognized amid the huge names.
Because, yeah, there are a lot of those. There’s John Mulaney in a surprisingly affecting role as the husband to Carmy’s cousin, who is played with lived-in gravitas by Sarah Paulson. There’s Gillian Jacobs, pregnant with Richie’s child, and as mentioned, Odenkirk joining Oliver Platt (who will need to compete in supporting for this season) as another fiery, scolding uncle in the family. Between them, that’s five potential guest-acting nominees, and all could get in. And that doesn’t even get into the true showcase of the episode, Jamie Lee Curtis as the unwell matriarch. Curtis goes as big as humanly possible here, which makes sense, as “Fishes” illustrates the hold her character maintains on the family. It’s also undeniably bait for awards voters, well-timed after she won an Oscar for a completely different kind of performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Am I right that she’s basically a lock to win this a year from now?
Ford: Yes, it does feel like Curtis is the one to beat. She returns in episode 10 for a heart-wrenching scene about being a disappointment to your kids that wrecked me, and I have to assume will leave a lasting impression with voters. For her to get that extra moment puts her ahead of the rest of those guest stars from episode six.