News — July 14, 2017 at 8:44 am

‘Better Call Saul’s’ Bob Odenkirk plans to celebrate with fellow Emmy nominee Matthew Rhys

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(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Bob Odenkirk is the first to admit that there are plenty of great actors and shows on television right now. Despite the increasingly deep field of contenders, the television academy recognized Odenkirk once again for his role on "Better Call Saul" when the 2017 Emmy nominations were announced Thursday morning.

Odenkirk was among the nominees for lead drama actor for his portrayal of Jimmy McGill on the AMC series (with the show itself earning a nod for best drama series). This is the third consecutive year he has been nominated for the role.

Odenkirk talked to The Times about his nomination, why he considers "Better Call Saul" an underdog and how he plans to celebrate.

Where are we catching you this morning?

I’m in New York in my hotel room. I’m doing that Steven Spielberg movie called “The Papers” right now. It’s the story of the Pentagon Papers. It’s about government secrets, freedom of the press, who will exercise freedom of the press, about a turbulent time in American politics. It’s extremely timely right now. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.

How are you feeling — and was the nomination a surprise at all?

It is a surprise! Come on now. Look, you know what’s a surprise? The big surprise is that Michael McKean did not get nominated for “Better Call Saul.” His performance in our show was through the roof, over-the-top brilliant — in intensity and humanity — and it was something really, really special. I was surprised he didn’t get noticed.

I’m also surprised to be included — and the reason is, there is just so many great actors and shows right now. Sheer volume. I feel like we’re still kind of an underdog; maybe it’s just me: all my life feeling where I belong. Our show is a relatively human-sized show compared to some of the productions around us. Obviously, something like “Game of Thrones” is an example of a show that is just massive. The number of characters and the grandness of it. And our show, in relation, is more modest.

What do you think it is about the show, and your character, that so resonated with viewers and the academy?

It’s a more idiosyncratic show than even “Breaking Bad” was. There are numerous ways in for “Breaking Bad” — it was a midlife crisis, a family dealing with the modern economy. With our show, Jimmy has a very distinctive drive and personality and he’s on a very unique path. The way people relate to it — and I’m just guessing here — is that everybody wants to feel effective in the world. It’s our right to do that. And that’s what he’s struggling to do. I think people can relate to that feeling of trying to find their place in the juggernaut of the American economy and careers.

What does the rest of your day look like? Will you celebrate?

I’m gonna work today. I’ll celebrate, though. I’ll be doing a scene with Matthew Rhys [who scored two nominations]. We’re both in this together. It’s great. We’ll give each other a slap on the back.

(Boston Globe / Getty Images) Susan Sarandon, left, and Jessica Lange are both Emmy-nominated for "Feud: Bette and Joan."

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