It’s been over seven months since Succession ended, but Logan Roy is still overshadowing his eldest boy. When the 2024 SAG Awards nominations were announced yesterday, TV fans and award-season prognosticators and TV fans alike were surprised to see that the Male Actor in a Drama Series included Brian Cox, but not Jeremy Strong, who played Logan’s aspirant heir Kendall Roy. Cox’s nomination as a lead came as something of a shock in part because Logan only played a major on-screen role in three episodes of Season 4, while Strong was integral to all 10.
Cox’s towering performance as Logan is the foundation of Succession’s acerbic family drama, but the character passes away less than a third of the way through the final season, a genuinely stunning development that serves as a sensational actor showcase for Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin. At 77, and with more than 50 years of TV, film, and theater work (not to mention his role in the Killzone video game series), it makes sense that SAG voters would want to honor Cox, but this choice feels baffling, as did the decision to nominate Matthew Macfadyen in the same category, who was in the supporting pool at both the Golden Globes and the Emmys. (Though given his importance to Succession’s final season, we think it’s warranted to consider Macfadyen a lead.) Cox was previously nominated for the award in 2021 alongside Culkin and Strong.
SAG regulations say “there is no minimum screen time requirement for a performance to be submitted in an individual television category,” only that a performer “must have appeared in a minimum of one episode of a television series during the calendar year 2023.” But interestingly, in a section about the requirements to be deemed a Series Regular, it says that for a 10-episode season like Succession’s fourth, an actor would have to appear in at least four episodes. Cox does meet that criteria thanks to a few posthumous scenes, but were it not for those moments in episodes like “Living+,” he wouldn’t be an eligible part of the ensemble at all.
SAG doesn’t have supporting actor awards, but it does honor ensembles, and Succession’s cast will almost certainly win the drama category as it continues its well-deserved victory lap. There’s also the matter of not nominating Strong, who does some of his most moving and complex work as Kendall. Like many award shows, SAG’s past choices for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor have honored actors who didn’t necessarily give their defining performance as a character in that particular season, but were pivotal to the success of a recently-concluded series (Peter Dinklage in 2019 and Jason Bateman in 2022 come to mind). The SAG voting body consists of members of the Screen Actors Guild, and though Strong’s intense approach to his craft has led to some online criticism, he’s also been publicly championed by stars like Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and director Aaron Sorkin.
At the 2024 Golden Globes, Cox was nominated alongside Strong and Culkin in the Best Actor – Television Series Drama category, and Culkin earned a surprising victory. That one was confusing for different reasons, since the Globes do have a Supporting Actor category, but it was already 50 percent Succession stars (winner Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, and Alexander Skarsgård). The situation was the same for the upcoming Emmys, where Cox earned a spot in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but not at the expense of Strong or Culkin.
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