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Don’t underestimate ‘Succession’s’ Alexander Skarsgard at the Golden Globes


Even to its diehard fans, “Succession” slightly over-performed when it earned a record-breaking nine Golden Globe nominations, including Best Drama Series, for the show’s final season. Previously, the most the show had earned in a single year was five, in 2022 (it took home three). This year, Kieran Culkin joined previous winners Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong in the Best TV Drama Actor race (he’d thrice been nominated in supporting), while 2022 winner Sarah Snook moved up to lead actress and J. Smith-Cameron snuck into Best TV Supporting Actress. And yet, the biggest surprise came in the supporting actor category, as Alexander Skarsgard and Alan Ruck joined Matthew Macfadyen, who had long been considered the frontrunner.

Now, the HBO drama’s Globe nominations more or less align with the show’s Emmy bids, so it’s not a total shock that Skarsgard and Ruck successfully scored bids. But even with the Globes’ expanded voting body, it’s a bit unlike voters to expand so much and stray so far from what was comfortable at this stage in the game, which was the main quartet of actors, and especially with the reinstatement of the catch-all TV supporting categories after a one-year split. So now the question becomes: Do any of the “Succession” performers in the Best TV Supporting Actor race have the votes to actually win?

As it stands, Macfadyen remains the man to beat. According to Gold Derby’s combined odds, he sits in first place with 18/5 odds, while Ruck and Skarsgard are at the bottom of the pack, in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Rounding out the rest of the field are James Marsden of Amazon’s Freevee’s “Jury Duty” in second, Ebon Moss-Bachrach of FX’s “The Bear” in third and Billy Crudup of Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” in fourth. It should be noted, though, that of all the nominated performers, Skarsgard is the only actor to have previously won a Golden Globe.

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SEE ‘Succession’ is on the cusp of this perfect record at the Golden Globes

Although Macfadyen has triumphed elsewhere for his work as Tom Wambsgans, and while he is still expected to win a second Emmy for his performance in the final season (Skarsgard and Ruck sit much higher in those odds, at second and third, respectively), this is his first Golden Globe nomination, not just for the role, but in general. Marsden and Moss-Bachrach are also first-time nominees, while Crudup was nominated in the category in 2022 but lost to O Yeong-su of “Squid Game.” Historically, the Globes aren’t against honoring first-timers, but there is certainly a benefit to being a former winner. So all of this still leads me to ask: Is Macfadyen the sure winner? Is it possible we’re actually underestimating someone like Skarsgard? 

The Swedish actor took home the Golden Globe for Best TV Supporting Actor for his performance as the fearsome, abusive husband of Nicole Kidman’s character in HBO’s 2017  drama “Big Little Lies.” His turn as Lukas Matsson, an arrogant tech mogul obsessed with sending blood bricks to an employee on whom he has a crush intent on acquiring Waystar-Royco, is yet another memorable role for the actor. His height and good looks are intimidating enough, but it’s the way Matsson asserts his power to dominate and manipulate the Roy siblings in the wake of their father’s death that reveals how cruel and cutthroat he can be. In other words, Madfadyen isn’t the only actor with an impressive highlight reel from Season 4. Skarsgard was given plenty of excellent material too; it’s just a different type of performance.

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Should Skarsgard eventually defy the odds and walk away a winner in January, he’ll become the fifth person to win the category twice after James Brolin, Edward James Olmos, Donald Sutherland and Vic Tayback (Ed Asner is the only three-time winner). It’ll also be yet another tally in the win column for the Skarsgard acting dynasty, as Alexander’s father, Stellan, triumphed in the category two years after his son, for his work in the 2019 HBO limited series “Chernobyl.”

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