On “Succession,” Kendall (Jeremy Strong) has yet to take down his dad because Logan (Brian Cox) f—ing wins. But it’s a different story IRL. Cox has yet to defeat Strong when they’ve faced off in an awards race while the latter has a 2-0 head-to-head record. Will he reverse the tide at the Emmys this year?
While the two compete in drama actor, they had never been nominated against each other until the Emmys in 2020 for the show’s breakout second season. Prior to that, one or the other was shortlisted by awards groups. Cox was actually the first “Succession” star to win an award, taking the Golden Globe in January 2020 in a field without Strong. A week after that, Strong triumphed at the Critics Choice Award in a field without Cox. That summer, Strong earned a Television Critics Association Award nomination in the single gender-neutral drama acting category and was the only “Succession” performer singled out (he lost to Regina King for “Watchmen”).
The 2020 Emmy race for Best Drama Actor finally pitted the TV father and son against one another, and while some speculated that the duo would vote-split (Cox led the odds throughout the season and the Experts were divided 14-12 in favor of Strong by the end), Strong emerged victorious, not unlike how Kendall one-upped his dad in the Season 2 finale. Strong became just the sixth person to defeat a co-star in the category.
For “Succession’s” third season, both actors were nominated throughout the winter awards season. Strong notched another W over Cox at the Globes, but they took Ls at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which at last nominated “Succession” for the first time, and the Critics Choice Awards, falling to “Squid Game’s” Lee Jung-jae at both. Kieran Culkin was nominated in the single drama actor category at SAG as well, which likely divided “Succession” support even more, but “Succession” won drama ensemble so they still collected hardware.
Cox and Strong are currently 1-2 in our Emmy odds for Best Drama Actor, and if it is ultimately between them, you can’t go wrong with either as a winner. Both delivered and then some in Season 3, culminating with their dinner table two-hander in the penultimate hour and that tense showdown between the Roy siblings and Logan in the finale that was already a win for Logan before it even began. And if all things were fair in love and awards, any “Succession” fan would like to think that the pair will trade wins and Cox won’t go Emmy-less for his towering work on the HBO series (really, just give it to him for the way he mocked Shiv).
But the awards gods can be cruel, and unlike in 2020, there is an obvious alternative to the “Succession” men in Lee, who’s in third place and headlines one of the most popular shows of the year (“Ozark’s” Jason Bateman is in fourth place, followed by “Better Call Saul’s” Bob Odenkirk and “Yellowstone’s” Kevin Costner). Is the support for Cox and Strong so evenly split that Lee has benefited from it or is Lee so formidable that he’s been leaving everyone in the dust? We’ll never know for sure, but Cox definitely has more competition this time around than just his Number One Boy, and yet no one would be surprised if “Squid Game” proves to be no match for a round of Boar on the Floor either.
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