×

Why the Wave of Buzz for ‘Succession’ Should Result in Its First Golden Globe Nom (Column)

This year’s Golden Globes race for drama series could come down to a battle of the oligarchs. Season 3 of Netflix’s “The Crown,” now featuring Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, is considered the frontrunner in the category right now — but don’t underestimate the ever-growing interest in the scheming, powerful Roy family of HBO’s “Succession.”

Succession” pulled off a rare feat in this overtaxed peak TV era: It exploded into a phenomenon in its second season — at least in Hollywood, where industry players can’t stop talking about the show’s Murdoch family-esque intrigue, soap opera twists and absurdly comedic and infantile characters.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s 90 or so members could conceivably gravitate to the stories of an entertainment and news industry titan and his family, ruthlessly controlling the fates of media employees. The fate of the show’s fictional website, “Vaulter,” might especially resonate with voters — many of whom work or freelance for various publications.

The Golden Globes didn’t nominate Season 1 of “Succession” in the drama series race (although Kieran Culkin, as manchild Roman Roy, did earn a nom for supporting actor). That should change this year, with possible lead actor nods for Brian Cox (as family patriarch Logan Roy) and Jeremy Strong (as Kendall Roy), and another supporting actor appearance for Culkin, as well. Sarah Snook (as Shiv Roy) is in the running for lead drama actress, although that field is much more crowded.

Season 2 of “Succession” premiered on Aug. 11 — just in time for the second phase of Emmy voting. The Television Academy nominated the first season for drama series, which it didn’t win (that award went, of course, to retiring juggernaut “Game of Thrones”). But here’s where timing had a quick impact at that awards show: The Emmy for main title theme music went to “Succession” composer Nicholas Britell. Had voting taken place a month earlier, not enough people had seen the show to result in a win. But with that catchy theme song on everyone’s mind in mid-August, Emmy voters gave in to their earworm.

“Succession” seems to have that power over viewers. In an essay she wrote about the series, Variety TV critic Caroline Framke seemed to hit on why viewers gravitated to it: Not only is the show funny (it arguably would be just as suited for the comedy race), but it confirms our beliefs that the people in power are just as terrible as we think they are. “They’re small, mean, cruel and careless — which is exactly why I love to watch them squirm,” she wrote. “I love seeing them cut each other off at the knees and stumble into dumb booby traps of their own design. … I love seeing without a shadow of a doubt that they’re exactly as fallible and shortsighted as I always suspected.”

Beyond the inherent thrill in seeing rich a–holes backstab each other and struggle to demonstrate an ounce of empathy, the basic tension between those who have power — and those who would take that power away — is ripe for good drama. If there’s any throughline to the past several drama series winners, it’s been about the relationships behind that struggle. “The Americans,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Crown” and “Mr. Robot” are all shows about characters who feel they have a calling and a duty to either hold on to power, or disrupt that power, no matter what that means to the people around them.

The knock on the HFPA is that its members are all about big-name stars, which would seemingly give an edge to Apple TV Plus’ “The Morning Show,” with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, or HBO’s reclassified drama “Big Little Lies,” featuring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and the aforementioned Witherspoon. But the small body of Globes voters have aimed to surprise in recent years, including last year’s swan song win for “The Americans.” That leaves this year’s competition hard to predict until noms are announced on Dec. 9.

Currently, “Succession” has the buzz and the pop culture zeitgeist behind it. To paraphrase Kendall Roy’s embarrassing rap to his father, “A-N it’s playin’/ playin’ like a pro.”

More TV

  • Kasi LemmonsNew York Women in Film

    Kasi Lemmons, Jane Rosenthal, Ann Dowd Talk Golden Globes Female Director Snub

    The absence of women among director nominees for the Golden Globes is another example of how much work remains to be done to achieve gender parity in the entertainment industry, honorees said Tuesday night at the 40th annual Muse Awards presented by New York Women in Film and Television. “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons, “The Irishman” [...]

  • The Flash -- "Crisis on Infinite

    'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Recap: A Rewritten Destiny Brings Another Superhero Death

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three,” “The Flash” episode of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover. Tuesday night was the official midpoint of the ambitious “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossovers, with an episode of “The Flash” that also marked the final episode of the year for the [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER tree identity ana

    'The Masked Singer' Reveals the Identity of the Tree

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the episode of “The Masked Singer,” which aired on Dec. 10 on Fox. “The Masked Singer” has sent home another character — and more importantly, has unmasked that contestant. On Tuesday’s episode, titled “A Pain in the Mask,” the tree was revealed to be [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER semi finals

    Everything to Know About 'The Masked Singer' Semi-Finals

    Television’s breakout reality show, “The Masked Singer,” wraps up its second season, unmasking a winner, next week — but first, the quirky competition show will celebrate the holidays. Teeing up the grand finale of the inarguable hit series, Fox is giving extra airtime to the show this week with a two-night event. Tuesday night, the [...]

  • daredevil Marvel Netflix

    Marvel to Shutter Television Division

    Marvel’s television division is officially winding down. Variety has learned that Marvel Television will no longer be developing any new series beyond the shows that are currently in production. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Marvel will eliminate a number of positions in the near future as a result of the cessation [...]

  • Kaya Scodelario

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Spinning Out' With 'Skins' Star Kaya Scodelario Gets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Spinning Out,” and USA reveals a first look at Ethan Hawke’s return to “The Purge” universe.  DATES Netflix‘s “Spinning Out,“ starring “Skins’s” Kaya Scodelario and from showrunners Lara Olsen (“Reign”) and Samantha Stratton, premieres Jan. 1. The series follows Scodelario’s Kat, a high-level figure skater [...]

  • Philip MckeonPhilip Mckeon

    'Alice' Child Star Philip McKeon Dies at 55

    Philip McKeon, known for playing the son of Linda Lavin’s titular character in the classic CBS sitcom “Alice,” has died. He was 55. The actor died Tuesday morning in Texas following a longtime illness, family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed to Variety. “We are all beyond heartbroken and devasted over Phil’s passing,” said Ballard. “His wonderful [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content