How vicious is the Roy family from HBO’s “Succession”? Brian Cox, who plays powerful patriarch Logan Roy, and Jeremy Strong (as his son Kendall Roy) managed to help push out two mainstays in the Emmys’ lead drama actor category this year: Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) and Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”). Odenkirk was nominated four times, while Ventimiglia earned three consecutive nods — but neither are in the mix this time out, now that Cox and Strong have joined the race. Also new to the field, and perhaps the biggest surprise this year, is Steve Carell. Like Cox and Strong, Carell plays a despicable media figure in “The Morning Show”: disgraced news anchor Mitch Kessler, whose sexual misconduct leads to the series’ Season 1 plot. Meanwhile, returning are last year’s category winner Billy Porter (“Pose”), 2017 victor Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Jason Bateman, in his third consecutive nod for “Ozark.” Ultimately, it will likely come down to the incumbent vs. the insurgent: Porter and Cox.
The Case for Billy Porter
There haven’t been back-to-back wins in the lead drama actor category since “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston did it in 2008, 2009 and 2010. But keep your eyes on Porter to potentially do it. Voters may be eager to show some respect to “Pose,” particularly after being criticized for failing to nominate the show in the drama series category this year, and overlooking the rest of its predominantly trans cast. But, Porter deserves it on his own merit. Season 2 of FX’s “Pose” gave the actor, who plays ballroom emcee and mentor Pray Tell, a strong dramatic storyline — including a new, younger love interest that had monumental ramifications. Porter could also benefit from the possibility that Cox and Strong might split the “Succession” vote. And it also still feels like Porter’s time, as he was ubiquitous (well, at least before the quarantine) on red carpets, awards shows and at major events.
The Case for Brian Cox
Don’t underestimate the lingering power of “Succession,” even though Season 3 of the show (much like the third round of “Pose”) has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, fans are still buzzing about the addictive premium cable drama’s rowdy second season, including several key moments centering Cox’s Logan. It all culminates in a season finale, which — spoiler alert — leads to Kendall’s epic betrayal against his father, and Logan begrudgingly admiring his son’s killer move. Cox ends the season with a slight smirk, and that small gesture sets up what promises to be an explosive Season 3. With Cox at the helm, “Succession” made such an impression on viewers this season that the entire main cast was nominated in various categories. Cox is also a past favorite of the TV Academy, winning the supporting limited series/TV movie actor Emmy in 2001 for “Nuremberg,” as well as earning a guest comedy actor nomination in 2002 for “Frasier.”