Kieran Culkin scored the Emmy on Sunday night for lead actor in a drama series for his performance as Roman “Romulus” Roy, the foul-mouthed baby bro of the Roy clan, in the final season of HBO’s “Succession.” Culkin has swept the awards season this year, also winning the Critics Choice Award for actor in a drama series Sunday night and the Golden Globe last weekend.
The actor known for his eyebrow-raising, off-the-cuff remarks gave a speech that was a departure from his norm. He was visibly choked up and shed a tear as he thanked his mother and even called out his wife, who apparently said they could have another baby “maybe” if he won on Monday night.
“I wasted all my time hugging everybody,” Culkin began, before thanking his co-stars and series creator Jesse Armstong. “I love you all. So much. Especially everyone in the cast … Thank you so much. I love you. I am not gonna have any time, I don’t want to get yelled at so, I gotta thank Jesse Armstrong for being a brilliant writer, showrunner, and gentleman. Thank you for ‘Succession.’”
“And then I got to switch to the personal really fast,” he continued emotionally. “I have to thank my mom for giving me life, and my childhood, which was great. So thank you for that.”
He then thanked his longtime manager Emily Gerson Saines, who’s worked with the actor for a whopping 29 years. “Sorry, Emily, you probably didn’t want me to say the number but I did,” he joked.
“Yeah, I just have to thank you for keeping my name in the conversation when nobody was talking about me. As far as I’m concerned, this is yours,” he added, holding up his Emmy award.
Culkin then thanked his wife Jazz Charton for sharing her life with him and giving him two children, Kinsey Sioux and Wilder Wolf. “I love you so many and so much,” he continued. “And Jazz, I want more. You said! You said maybe if I win.”
Culkin’s portrayal of the underdog successors to the Waystar-Royco empire, made him a fan favorite of the series that became a cultural phenomenon since its debut in 2018. In a moment of life imitating art, he was also competing for the lead actor Emmy against Brian Cox, who played his media tycoon father on the series, and Jeremy Strong, who play Logan’s estranged son Kendall in the series.
The “Succession” star told The Times’ Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal in 2022 that although he typically liked to know the full scope of a character’s story, with Roy, “I found myself saying to [‘Succession’ creator Armstrong], ‘No spoilers, please. I only want to know as much as Roman knows, and I don’t want to know where it’s going.’”
“To me, the whole show has humor to it. Everything. And anything that is dark or sort of hurtful can’t be impactful without it being somewhat funny to me.”
Culkin was originally asked to audition for Cousin Greg, but the actor was drawn to Roman. “That’s my tummy,” he told The Times. “I really don’t know what that is, but I know I started reading Cousin Greg and just immediately was like, ‘I get it. I know who this guy is, but it’s not me. I can’t do that.’ And then with Roman, I just knew I could. I liked his voice, and I really clicked with it. Pretty much every syllable was like, I completely understand who this guy is, and that almost never happens. But I cannot tell you exactly what that is. I wouldn’t be able to. I mean, I’d have to try to analyze it. I don’t how much time you got. I’m still trying to find a therapist. So if you have any good recommendations we can try to figure these things out together.”
Culkin has been candid about his work on “Succession” solidifying his desire to work as an actor, but when The Times asked what satisfaction acting gave him in his “Succession” era, he channeled Roy when he said “Yikes. ‘Satisfaction.’ Shut up. Gross.”
This was Culkin’s third Emmy nomination and first win for “Succession.” He was nominated twice before for supporting actor in a drama series.