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Emmy episode analysis: Kieran Culkin (‘Succession’) suffers personal and professional setbacks while visiting ‘Tern Haven’

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“My life just ended,” Kieran Culkin’s Roman Roy whimpers when his sister blurts out that she’s been chosen as the successor to their father’s empire in “Tern Haven,” the second season episode of HBO’s “Succession” that he has submitted for Emmy Awards consideration. Culkin has scored his first-ever nomination in the Drama Supporting Actor category for his role as the unflappably unserious but ambitious son of media magnate Logan Roy (Brian Cox) after earning two Golden Globe bids for the performance.

In “Tern Haven,” the entire Roy clan descends on the Pierce family’s eponymous estate to negotiate an acquisition. Culkin’s Roman gets his marching orders from Logan to focus on wooing Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), a key influence on whether or not Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones) will agree to a sale. At dinner, the Roy family’s foibles––especially Roman’s––are on full display as his girlfriend Tabitha (Caitlin Fitzgerald) humiliates him personally and his sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) usurps him professionally. Those indignities lead Roman to general counsel Gerri’s (J. Smith-Cameron) door in the middle of the night, where they escalate their perversely intimate mentor-mentee relationship.

WATCH Kieran Culkin interview: ‘Succession’

Will Culkin’s sardonic yet sympathetic performance nab him an Emmy on his very first outing? Let’s look at the pros and cons of his submission.

PROS

Culkin chose a terrific episode for his Emmy showcase, as he gets to balance his characteristic sarcasm with real emotional depth. For the first half, he play up Roman’s sly, jocular attitude, offering hilarious quips about the Pierce family and his own. Culkin digs much deeper in the second half, especially as he reacts to both his inability to sleep with his girlfriend and his public shame at being passed over for his sister. Roman’s devastation is written all over Culkin’s face and body language, and his frustration and disappointment is by turns endearing and disturbing. His biggest scene is opposite Gerri, who Roman looks to for solace, and he finds it when he gets off––literally––to her excoriating him. The scene and his performance are simultaneously icky, funny and utterly engrossing.

Culkin has a leg up on some of his competition as voters will get a second look at his performance in the submissions of co-stars Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen: the season finale “This Is Not for Tears.” In that episode, the Roys convene on their yacht to debate who will take the fall for the company’s insidious cruise-line scandal, and Roman finally wins his father over with his business savvy. If voters watch the entries in all categories, they’ll also see the actor in four more episodes, giving them a great sense of the complexity of his character.

Though Golden Globe members took a liking to Culkin’s performance from the first season, the Emmy acting branch just recently caught up with the series, as evinced by its skyrocketing performer nominations from zero to nine. If voters have the entire series on their minds when they cast their ballots, he will have a further advantage as he had a memorable arc in the first season, first siding with his brother’s coup-attempt against Logan and then staying on as his father’s COO.

SEE Kieran Culkin vs. Matthew Macfadyen: Emmy Experts divided on which ‘Succession’ co-star will win

CONS

Even though “Tern Haven” features a great subplot for Culkin, the episode mostly revolves around Snook’s character Shiv, who makes a tremendous blunder when she forces her father’s hand at announcing her as his successor at dinner, but nevertheless becomes essential to the negotiations with Pierce. Voters might think his character feels too peripheral in his submission to award him with the prize.

With three “Succession” contenders in Drama Supporting Actor, it seems inevitable that they will split the votes since none of them feels like the consensus choice. Despite this obstacle, there is recent precedent that could benefit Culkin: just last year, Emmy-juggernaut “Game of Thrones” had three bids in this category for Peter Dinklage, Alfie Allen and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Dinklage prevailed. Culkin seems like the Dinklage of his “Succession” cohort as a quasi-lead frontrunner, which bodes well for his chances.

In addition to fending off his fictional cousin and brother-in-law, Culkin will have to beat out a murderers’ row of supporting contenders, including “The Morning Show” duo Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass, double-nominee Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”), last year’s Drama Guest Actor winner Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and returning-nominee and past Emmy champ Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”).

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NYFW: Rebecca Minkoff’s Rocker-Meets-Boho Collection and Nicole Miller’s ‘Totally ’70s’ Line

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Designer Rebecca Minkoff launched her rocker-meets-boho Fall 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week, and told “Extra’s” Cheslie Kryst all about it. She debuted the looks on an NYC rooftop, describing the vibe as “Mick Jagger’s house or his after-party spot.”

She also detailed the fabrics she used to create the pieces, saying, “There is leather, there is vegan leather, there is a lot of great florals, some velvet. Some of our longer jackets are more menswear-inspired.”

Meanwhile, “Extra’s” Adam Glassman spoke with Nicole Miller about her “totally ’70s” Spring 2021 collection, describing it as “more Laurel Canyon than Woodstock.” She used tie-dye, dip dye, and recycled pieces, and used a more muted palette than usual.

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Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline Return to the Outer Banks in Steamy Kygo ‘Hot Stuff’ Music Video

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Gotta have some love tonight! Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline star in the music video for Kygo’s new remix of Donna Summer’s 1979 hit “Hot Stuff.”

Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline YouTube

The retro-inspired visual, which premiered on Friday, September 18, follows the Outer Banks costars and real-life couple as they return to the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. After climbing on the back of Stokes’ bicycle, Cline, 22, and the actor, 28, sneak into the local bar The Fat Pelican, pick up a few drinks and head out back, where they continue to flirt.

At one point, the actress strips off her beau’s white T-shirt and tosses a patterned button-down at him to change into. She then removes her cardigan, revealing a low-cut sequined top as she dances seductively for a googly-eyed Stokes. The video ends with the pair dancing together and making out.

Outer Banks Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline Get Cozy in Kygo Hot Stuff Music Video 1
Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline YouTube

“Hot Stuff” is the third dance classic that Kygo, 29, has reworked in recent years. He previously released remixes of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love” and Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

“Donna Summer is one of my favorite artists of all time. Her catalogue of music is brilliant, and her vocals are unmatched,” the DJ said in a statement on Friday. “I am honored and humbled to get to work on an iconic track like ‘Hot Stuff.’ This has always been one of those songs that instantly puts me in a good mood, and I hope that this version can continue to bring joy and happiness to people who want to celebrate the legendary Donna Summer.”

Stokes and Cline, for their part, sparked dating rumors in April after playing onscreen couple John B. and Sarah Cameron in the Netflix teen drama. Two months later, they confirmed their relationship by sharing photos from a beach date. “Cats outta the bag,” the Maryland native wrote via Instagram at the time.

Days later, the duo went live on the social media app to talk to fans about their decision to go public.

“I was like, ‘I think I’m gonna post it.’ [My mom] was like, ‘Really? You understand what happens when you do that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah. I do, Mom. Sure do,’” Stokes said. “Then I texted Maddie and I said, ‘What do you think?’ And she said, ‘I don’t care.’”

Cline then chimed in: “I thought he meant posting it at some point in the future. He didn’t clarify what time. … And there it was. Modern romance.”

Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!

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David Oyelowo Will Open The 24th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival

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For the past two decades, The Urbanworld Film Festival has been one of the largest international competitive festivals in the world. Founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, the legendary festival is a unique space that connects Black directors, writers, producers and actors from across the diaspora to showcase their work in front of a captive audience. 

This year’s festival will be no different — except in one way. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival will be virtual, going from September 23 to 27.

David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut, The Water Man, in which he also stars, will open the festival on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:30 P.M. The fantasy-adventure film follows a boy who sets out on a quest to save his ill mother by searching for a mythic figure said to have magical healing powers. 

A conversation with Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller moderated by Ava DuVernay will immediately follow the screening, as well as a special performance by singer Alice Smith.

The horror satire Bad Hair will screen on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:00 P.M.. A conversation about the making of the film with writer/director Justin Simien, Lena Waithe, Elle Lorraine and Kelly Rowland will be moderated by entrepreneur Tahira Joy.

RELATED: Tiffany Boone Talks Nazis, Working With Al Pacino in ‘Hunters’

On Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:00 P.M., Candyman director/co-writer Nia DaCosta, Teyonah Parris and Vanessa Williams will have an intimate conversation around the contemporary incarnation of the cult classic. 

The festival will close with Come Away, which stars David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie, on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. The film imagines a world before Peter became Pan and Alice visited Wonderland. The screening will be followed by a conversation, moderated by Urbanworld Film Festival Founder Stacy Spikes, with Oyelowo and Alice herself, actress Kiera Chansa.

Urbanworld’s Founding partner HBO is joined by key supporters including WarnerMedia as Prestige partner and Amazon Studios, BET Networks and 150 as Premiere partners.

Tickets are on sale now, click here.

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