Paul Bettany on his pride that the MCU’s “kooky cousin” ‘WandaVision’ ended up with 23 Emmy nominations

Paul Bettany was proud, and surprised, when his Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off series WandaVision conjured up 23 Emmy nominations — including Marvel’s first ever acting nominations for him, co-star Elizabeth Olsen, and scene stealer Kathryn Hahn

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Bettany explained, “We always thought that we were going to be the sort of kooky cousin that was kind of niche.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to run on Disney+ ahead of WandaVision, he explained, but instead, Marvel Studios launched with WandaVision, an adventure couched in an homage to classic sitcoms. 

“When it all flipped, I was a little apprehensive,” Bettany admits. “But I was so heartened to see it embraced in the way that it was.”

Despite a career featuring solid performances in films like A Beautiful Mind, on which he met his wife, Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, it was WandaVision that snagged Bettany’s first major award nomination, in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series category.

“It came as a huge surprise and a very welcome one,” the 50-year-old explained. “I was pretending not to care about it, but it turns out I did.” 

Bettany has been a part of the MCU since its inception, first voicing Tony Stark’s AI system J.A.R.V.I.S. starting in 2008’s Iron Man, before appearing as Vision in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron

He says of WandaVision, “It’s been such a great ride. It’s been so lovely to actually have something really substantial for both Lizzie [Olsen] and I to do…” calling it, “a lovely explosion of creativity from everybody involved.”

The 73rd Emmys will be held live and in person from on Sunday, September 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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