First things first – if we’re going to talk about Succession, you have to know what I have in my head at all times while it’s on, from the moment the first chord plays on the piano: 


‘A kiss from Dad-dy-y’. It KILLS me. Because it’s so petty. A kiss. First of all, Logan Roy would never, and then if he did, it would be the tiniest, most ephemeral, and it would be gone instantly, and all the children’s faces would form smug masks around their hurt little faces again. 

That… is what everyone else watches the show for, right? 

Succession was supposed to have more of a sweep than it did, although that really amounts to ‘losing’ the Best Supporting Actress and Actor categories – and while Julia Garner over Sarah Snook was a definite surprise (which I assume is possibly due to people remembering Ozark was ending and figuring they’d better award her now), I don’t know how people can be fussed about Best Supporting Actor. All three of those dudes were nominated! They’re all great, but they were all in there together! How could they not split the votes?! (More on the Machiavellian benefactor of said split soon.) 

Jeremy Strong is perfect, though, so I’m glad he won. Like he’s perfect as Kendall, heartbreakingly and nauseatingly so, but also Strong himself is pretty lovely. He got visibly teared up during his speech, interrupted himself to kiss his wife, and was so sincere I actually stopped thinking about his… shirt-and-tie in one? Dammit, now I’m thinking about it again. 


(Also, high praise to the audio operator who realised Strong was about to swear and faded out just in time. Ninja move.)


As for Best Drama – well, first of all everyone knew Succession was going to take it, including creator Jesse Armstrong. And so, in an effort to mitigate what was probably likely to be Sweep Fatigue, he had a different kind of speech ready: the “Un-thank yous” 

I have to confess I thought this was gonna be deeply cutesy, and was annoyed, particularly when he started with, “Un-thank you to the virus”. Like, okay, that’s one step away from shaking your fist at the rain or thinking a certain pair of shoes is bad luck. 

But just when I thought we were going into children’s picture book territory, a phone rang, audibly– like hotel land line? – and things got more exciting fast. 


First they cut to Kieran Culkin LOSING IT. Strong move and an arbiter of things to come. Then … 

“Un-thank you to President Trump for his crummy and uncoordinated response. Un-thank you to Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same in my country. Un-thank you to all the nationalist and quasi-nationalist governments in the world who are exactly the opposite of what we need right now, and uh… Un-thank you to all the media moguls who do so much to keep them in power.” 


Right there is where it became simultaneously the best and the worst acceptance speech. Best because obviously, and because it’s always amazing when someone says super-incendiary things in a quiet, offhand tone; worst because if EVER there was a time for an audience cutaway this was it! I actually had a pang – an actual pang – thinking of the camera guys racing up and down the aisles to get the best shots of Gwyneth Paltrow or Reese Witherspoon looking shocked, and thinking of the director in their ear going, “Applegate, fast! Get me Applegate, Camera Two --- wait, no, Brosnahan!” 

Instead, we got a carousel of the Succession cast happily applauding – well, most of them. Kieran Culkin was still killing himself laughing, and it was an image that will stay with me a long, long time. 

Here’s a picture his wife posted of Emmy behind-the-scenes action. I dare you not to sing “A kiss from Dad-dy-yyyyy”…

(PS – did it seem to anyone else like the jokes got worse as the night went on? I was embarrassed for Sterling K Brown that he had to introduce this category with the tired “misunderstanding who won” bit. Am I just cranky?)