At Sunday’s 72nd Annual Emmy Awards, Succession star Jeremy Strong won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of killer son and (« L to the OG » rapper) Kendall Roy.
« Wow, » said a stunned Strong during his virtual acceptance speech. « I read a poem by Stephen Dunn that said, ‘All I ever wanted was a book so good I’d be finishing it for the rest of my life.’ This job was that for me. [Succession creator] Jesse Armstrong, I owe this to you. [Succession costar and co-nominee] Brian Cox, I share this with you. »
Later, Strong spoke further on his shock: « I feel pretty gob smacked that this happened. I didn’t expect this to happen. I’ve been acting since I was a little kid and it’s been a long road for me. I discovered tonight, happily, that rather than a sort of giddy feeling of exhilaration I actually feel a sense of groundedness and serenity right now. While I miss being with everyone and we can’t go out and stay out all night and celebrate, I just feel quietly extremely grateful. This certainly was not a given in my life and I’m just so happy….It’s kind of beyond my wildest imaginings when we started working on this, so it feels incredibly meaningful to have made something that has penetrated the culture in the way that it has and it has meant something to people. That’s all you can hope for as an actor. »
The Lead Actor victory for Strong was both his first career win and nomination. Strong, who once worked as Daniel Day-Lewis’ assistant, is known for his method acting and he previously spoke to EW about how Kendall’s depressive mindstate in Succession season 2 was difficult on him.
« Personally, I’d had a really hard time the first couple of months [of shooting season 2] just because of what I was trying to put myself through, to be where I felt like Kendall needed to be, » he said of a rare tender moment between Kendall and Shiv (Sarah Snook), wherein a tearful Kendall asked for a hug. « That was the first human contact that I’d been given in the writing in the season, just saying, ‘Hey, I need help, I’m in trouble.’ I was in trouble. It was hard for me and I didn’t want to feel that way anymore, so it was really easy to look at Sarah and basically say, ‘I don’t want to feel this way anymore.’ I was holding a pill bottle and then for some reason I was trying to hug into my chest like I see my daughter do with her binky. I wish we had more scenes that were connective in that way, but [the writers] deny us that because [the characters] don’t have that in their lives. »
To win the award, Strong beat out Jason Bateman (Ozark), Billy Porter (Pose), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Steve Carell (The Morning Show), and his Succession dad Cox.
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