Succession; as Brian Cox reveals his gratitude working on the series, is Logan Roy his most acclaimed role?

Succession has officially come to an end, but those wishing for more Brian Cox might want to seek out some of his older, award-nominated works

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Ted Lasso finishing the same week as Succession feels like there should be some form of wake for two of television's most recent success stories. While the feel good Ted Lasso gave us a number of uplifting moments, HBO’s dramedy following the lives of the Roy’s gave us plenty of family saga to counterbalance those feel good moments. 

Throughout all of Succession’s Machavellian twists and turns however, one name has constantly been earmarked as the MVP among MVP’s on the show - Scottish actor Brian Cox, who played the curmudgeous patriarch of the family and CEO of Waystar-Royco, Logan Roy. Cox’s character in particular had a number of memorable lines, most of them offensive put downs of his family members or those who he does not agree with/has no use or time for. 

It’s a role that Brian Cox has recently decreed his thankfulness for, name checking series creator Jessie Armstrong in a post on Instagram Stories the day of the finale premiering in the United States. “We have now come to the end,” Cox wrote. “And what has been, in my career, certainly the greatest work experience ever. The harmony between crew and cast was truly amazing.”

“It was on its way to become a great series but the Love and commitment from crew to cast and writers, made it memorable. I would like to thank all of us in the making and creating of this show from the very bottom of my heart. Yours ever Brian Cox.”

For his role as Logan Roy, the actor received 13 award nominations throughout the tenure of the show, picking up three awards including the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2019. But how has this role matched up against some of the actor’s other award-nominated works, both on the screen and the hallowed boards he tread before making his name award from the theatre?

Brian Cox’s award-nominated roles

Rat In The Skull (1984)

Scottish actor Brian Cox, UK, 9th February 1971. He made his first film appearance that year, as Leon Trotsky in the film 'Nicholas and Alexandra'.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Scottish actor Brian Cox, UK, 9th February 1971. He made his first film appearance that year, as Leon Trotsky in the film 'Nicholas and Alexandra'.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Scottish actor Brian Cox, UK, 9th February 1971. He made his first film appearance that year, as Leon Trotsky in the film 'Nicholas and Alexandra'. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

‘Rat in the Skull’ is a play written by Ron Hutchinson and commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre in London. It was first performed in 1984 and gained critical acclaim for its exploration of the Northern Ireland conflict from a unique perspective. The play revolves around an interview between an inspector from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and a Catholic man who has been detained in London under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Cox, who portrayed the RUC inspector in the original production, delivered a remarkable performance that garnered significant recognition. His portrayal of the complex character earned him the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Actor in a New Play in 1984. This accolade solidified Cox's reputation as a talented actor and further highlighted the play's impact on the theatre scene.

Manhunter (1986)

Brian Cox originated the role of Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's 1986 film 'Manhunter' before Sir Anthony Hopkins' Oscar turned performance (Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)Brian Cox originated the role of Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's 1986 film 'Manhunter' before Sir Anthony Hopkins' Oscar turned performance (Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)
Brian Cox originated the role of Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's 1986 film 'Manhunter' before Sir Anthony Hopkins' Oscar turned performance (Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)

Manhunter’ was directed by Michael Mann and is considered the first cinematic adaptation featuring the character of Hannibal Lecter. In the film, Brian Cox's portrayal of Lecter is distinct from Anthony Hopkins' more iconic interpretation.

In ‘Manhunter,’ Cox's portrayal of Hannibal Lecter is relatively brief but still memorable. He brings a chilling and restrained quality to the character, emphasising his intelligence and manipulative nature. While Cox's performance in "Manhunter" was praised, it was Hopkins' portrayal in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ that ultimately became synonymous with the character and garnered widespread acclaim. It did, however, lead to Cox receiving more calls from Tinseltown afterwards.

Titus Andronicus (1988)

In an interview with The Guardian in 2013, Brian Cox spoke of his time with the Royal Shakespeare Company performing ‘Titus Andronicus’, which he said was “the most interesting thing I've ever done in the theatre” during a retrospective of the show. Widely regarded as Shakespeare's first tragedy and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays that were popular during the 16th century, it was initially well-received and enjoyed popularity, particularly among audiences of the time, its reputation declined in the later 17th century. 

The Victorian era disapproved of the play due to its graphic violence, which contributed to its diminished esteem. However, the play's reputation began to improve around the middle of the 20th century, although it still remains one of Shakespeare's least respected works. It also led to Brian Cox receiving his second Olivier award for Actor of the Year in a Revival in 1988

Rob Roy (1995)

Cox's portrayal of ‘Rob Roy’ antagonist Archibald Cunningham is widely acclaimed and is considered one of his notable performances. Critics were compelled by his mix of charm, malevolence, and complexity to the character. Cunningham is a despicable and detestable figure, but Cox's nuanced performance adds layers to the role, making him more than a mere villain. Cox effectively captures the manipulative nature of Cunningham and delivers a memorable and chilling portrayal.

The film itself received critical acclaim, particularly for the performances of the cast, including Cox. For his role, Cox was nominated for Best Actor in a Film at the 1995 BAFTA Scotland awards.

Nuremberg (2000)

Brian Cox's portrayal of Hermann Goring earned him an Emmy Award in 2001 (Credit: Cypress Films)Brian Cox's portrayal of Hermann Goring earned him an Emmy Award in 2001 (Credit: Cypress Films)
Brian Cox's portrayal of Hermann Goring earned him an Emmy Award in 2001 (Credit: Cypress Films)

This four-part mini-series was directed by Yves Simoneau and focuses on the historic Nuremberg trials that took place after World War II; held to prosecute prominent members of the Nazi regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the mini-series, Brian Cox portrays Hermann Göring, one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party and a key defendant in the Nuremberg trials. Göring was known for his role in establishing the Gestapo and his involvement in implementing Nazi policies. 

Cox's portrayal of Göring received critical acclaim for capturing the character's complexity, charisma, and manipulative nature, which led him to scoop his first television award in 2001, earning him the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie, alongside a nomination at that year’s Golden Globes ceremony.

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