The Best Supporting Actor race is hotly contested at this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. Reigning champ Billy J. Miller (“The Young and the Restless”) returns to defend his title with three-time Younger Actor champ Jonathon Jackson (“General Hospital”) looking for his first win in this category. These two frontrunners face off against two veteran actors — Brian Kerwin (“One Life to Live”) and Doug Davison (“The Young and the Restless”) — as well as first-time nominee Jason Thompson (“General Hospital”).
Both Miller and Jackson play the off-spring of key characters on their shows. Jackson is Lucky Spencer, son of soap supercouple Luke & Laura, while Millier is Billy Abbott, the son of John and Jill.
Jackson first played his part as a ten-year-old and stayed with the show till 2000. Jacob Young, a one-time “Bold and the Beautiful” star, took over the role winning the Younger Actor award in 2002. After he left the following year, Greg Vaughn was cast, only to be let go when Jackson returned last year.
He was a contender in this race last year and has a strong episode to showcase his talents this time around. Lucky is forced to deal with the fallout of his fiancée Elizabeth Weber (Rebecca Herbst) having an affair with his half-brother Nikolas Cassidine (Tyler Christopher). The easy-going Lucky becomes hard, saying “I should have known after everything Elizabeth’s done, that she’s a faithless tramp.” Lucky shoulders his share of the blame, owning up to his past dalliances with other women. However, voters unfamiliar with the history of these characters may not understand the power of this moment.
A succession of actors have portrayed Billy; the most popular prior to Miller was David Tom who played the part for three years beginnin in 1999 and won Younger Actor in 2002. Two others — Ryan Brown (2002-2003) and Scott Seymour (2006) — tried the role on for size but left little impression with viewers.
Miller delivers a powerhouse performance in his submission. After his wife Victoria suffers a miscarriage following an argument with her father, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), Billy confronts him. He demonstrated remarkable restraint in these scenes, avoiding the over-acting that often appears on these tapes. Billy also showed his sweet side bringing Victoria ice cream and bubble bath and offering genuine support to her.
Kerwin could play spoiler. The veteran actor started as Charlie on “One Life To Live” in 2007 and has two previous supporting bids in 2008 and last year. At 62, Kerwin is the oldest of the nominees and has a varied and versatile career on stage, film and TV. During his time on “OLTL,” he has worked with three of daytime’s top actressess — six-time Emmy champ Erika Slezak, four-time winner Kim Zimmer and one-time victor Robin Strasser.
Over the past year, his character has struggled with a drinking problem, conspired with Dorian Lord (Robin Strasser) to kill the evil Mitch Laurance (Roscoe Born), and accidently shot his step-daughter Jessica (Supporting Actress nominee Bree Williamson). After his wife Viki (Slezak) learns of all this, she threatens to divorce him. Kerwin’s episode sees Charlie admit to Viki that he’s a drunk and is leaving her. She says she will stand by her man and these scenes are heartbreaking to watch.