There is one thing I have learned in my years covering the Daytime Emmys: I am terrible at making Emmy predictions. What strikes me as good writing, acting or directing often diverges from the Academy’s opinion. That said, with industrious fans piecing together what each actor submitted in each category and putting it up on YouTube, it is impossible to resist the urge to play judge. So, over the next three days I am going to offer my entirely subjective opinions. First up, Outstanding Lead Actress and Actor.
Outstanding Lead Actor
Peter Bergman (Jack,’The Young & The Restless‘ 5-26-09)
There is a reason why Bergman has racked up so many nominations and wins. He deserves them. He is simultaneously cold, heartbroken, angry and cruel as he lets Billy (Billy Miller) know that he is well aware that they are both potentially the fathers of Sharon’s baby then twists the knife by pointing out that she was sleeping with Nick (Joshua Morrow), too. Then he is all repressed rage as he pretends to Sharon that he has no idea she was cheating on him with his brother. This reel, which plays as a single long scene is effective. If Bergman goes home with another statue, he will have earned it.
Doug Davidson (Paul, ‘The Young & The Restless’ 9-2-09)
Paul confronts Victor (Eric Braeden) about giving Patty (Stacy Haiduk) plastic surgery and sending her to seduce Jack. He later learns Patty was kidnapped. Davidson gives consummate nice guy Paul as much hurt and sadness as he lets Victor have it for ruining his sister’s life. Arguably, Paul was more of a supporting character in 2010, but Davidson chose to submit himself as a lead and his peers agreed.
Jon Lindstrom (Craig, As The World Turns 6-12-09)
Lindstrom could be any soap heavy as he threatens Rosanna (Cady McClain). He continues to be smug as he refuses Carly’s (Maura West) plea to forgive Rosanna from stealing from him. He’s smug again when Carly hits him with her car, when he decides not to tell Margo (Ellen Dolan) about Rosanna’s theft and when he tells Carly what he did. Lindstrom is a terrific actor, but he was boring in this reel. As I watched, I was far more interested in the alcoholic Carly’s struggles to keep it together.
Michael Park (Jack ‘As The World Turns‘ 10/29/09)
Now, this is an Emmy reel. Park has huge scenes as he grapples with moving on after accidentally killing his brother Brad and must tell his wife Katie (Terri Columbino) what happened. Then he pulls a gun on Craig when he suggests that Jack’s determination to be a hero led to Brad’s death. He avoids histrionics, giving a restrained,understated,realistic performance despite the stereotypically soapy situations. This is a serious contender.
James Scott (EJ ‘Days of Our Lives‘) 6/12/09
It is so refreshing to see an actor under the age of 35 who has never been nominated before competing in this category. Scott does not always get his due as an actor because A) he is so ridiculously good looking that he is thought of as merely a pretty face B) He is on DOOL which has a history of favoring campy performances over substance,C) His character has, at times, been written as a one-dimensional mustache twirler. Scott was actually rewarded for doing good work,not his reputation. This was a great Emmy reel. Scott is explosive without going over the top as he confronts Sami (Alison Sweeney) after finding out that Grace was his daughter then cries convincing man-tears as he visits Grace in the morgue. The most rawly charismatic, if not the most polished, nominee, he commands attention from viewers.
My imaginary vote: James Scott — because I like to see new blood keep the awards interesting. I will not be disappointed if Bergman or Park go home with the statue.
My prediction: Peter Bergman
Outstanding Lead Actress
Bobbie Eakes (Krystal ‘All My Children‘ 9-6-09)
I never would have imagined that a talented actress playing a scene where she confesses to having sold one of her twin daughters at birth could be boring, but this reel proves that it’s possible. Thanks to staging that had Krystal pouring out her heart to Tad (Michael Knight) while sitting down in public at a restaurant, Eakes had to play these scenes in a low key, matter of fact manner that removed all the energy and drama. Uninspired, expository dialogue did not help. Though Eakes is a great performer who always sells the hell out of an often unlikable character, I am surprised this reel got her the nomination.
Maura West (Carly, ‘As The World Turns‘ 7/14/09)
The intervention scenario is an Emmy-bait classic. But these were really good, with Carly going from so deeply in denial that she hid in a cabinet to avoid Craig (Jon Lindstrom) to desperately attempting to seduce him to avoid the intervention, to denial she has a problem, to accepting that she needs treatment. It’s the sort of tour de force that wins awards.
Sarah Brown (Claudia ‘General Hospital‘ 7/27/09)
What if one of daytime’s best actresses played one of its most inconsistently written, unlikable characters? That was the dilemma Brown faced when selecting her Emmy reel. Wisely, she picked the scenes surrounding Claudia’s miscarriage, one of the few times that Claudia was sympathetic. Brown keeps up Claudia’s defensive wall through her scenes with Sonny, while allowing a hint of vulnerability to seep through in her scenes with her brother. Her decision to play Claudia as tough and angry throughout her ordeal, instead of the typical sad miscarriage scenes puts a unique spin on a common soap situation. Brown also benefits politically from potentially getting votes from performers on her current soap,’The Bold & The Beautiful‘ as well as GH.
Crystal Chappell (Olivia ‘Guiding Light‘ 4/14/09)
Romance and optimism in an Emmy reel — now there’s something unusual. The scenes where Olivia confesses to Natalia (Jessica Leccia) that she loves her are downright inspirational. They are also a great showcase for Chappell, who gets a lengthy monologue at Gus’s gravesite before Natalia arrives and her emotional declaration of her love bursts out of her. For once, GL’s production model was effective. The outdoor graveyard set,coupled with an effective background song makes these scenes look contemporary, but it may be jarring for the judges because it is so different. Chappell also gets the double soap bounce because of her current role on DOOL.
Michelle Stafford (Phyllis ‘The Young & The Restless‘ 5-29-09)
I thought that Stafford might choose the episode in which Phyllis trashes Sharon’s (Sharon Case) hotel room, scrawling “I Hate You” on her mirror. In retrospect, that could have played over the top without watching the months of lead up that drove Phyllis to that point. Instead, Stafford opted for powerful but lower key scenes where Nick tells Phyllis that he may be the father of Sharon’s child. She is hurt and angry, yet eerily composed. Even someone who had never watched Y&R before would be drawn in and wonder what was going to happen in the next episode.
My imaginary vote: Crystal Chappell, for the romance and to see GL get some recognition, though I thoroughly enjoyed every reel except for Eakes.
My prediction: Sarah Brown