Daytime Emmys experts’ smackdown: Best Actress (Part 2)

Two of our Daytime Emmys Experts — Nelson Branco (Soap Opera Uncensored) and Dan J. Kroll (Soap Central) — have weighed in with their thoughts on the Best Actress race. They disagree vehemently about the winner, with Nelson opting for a repeat by Laura Wright (“General Hospital“) and Dan predicting a history-making victory for Debbi Morgan (“All My Children“).

Now, Michael Fairman (MichaelFairmanSoaps) joins in the debate; he is backing a bid by Erika Slezak to win a record seventh award for the final year of “One Life to Live.” Below, his insightful explanation for his prediction. 

In the Best Actress category at this year’s Daytime Emmys, which at one time seemed on paper as a lock, when you speak to many voters and industry insiders, this category could go several different ways! 

Six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak delivered what was one of the most bravura performances of her 40 year career on “One Life to Live” as Viki. In her reel, she plays three personalities (alters, if you will) in a battle for control of Viki’s mind, as her daughter Jessica, whose alter Tess now controls her, tries to win custody of her child away from mama, Viki, who at that point had temporary custody. It is the longest reel in the competition, but Slezak is worth seeing in every second of footage.

However, some feel that Erika’s reel in the pre-nominations where Viki finds her husband Charlie in bed with her arch nemesis Echo was by far the better choice. Slezak herself told me she couldn’t get all the material she wanted to make that her main Emmy reel because it was split over two shows and you are not allowed to do that by Emmy guidelines. So she made the switch to her flashier 40th Anniversary episode. We loved it, but will the voters?

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Many also seemed to be split on Debbi Morgan’s reel also. In her final Emmy submission as Angie Hubbard on “All My Children,” Morgan submitted the scenes where she learns from her husband, Jesse, that her baby died and he switched the babies! Rot-ro! Angie at the time was also blind. So you have the amazing Morgan, blind, screaming and crying in angst throughout her scenes. But was it too much for Emmy voters, or did it strike the right chord? In the most poignant moment, Jesse takes Angie to see where he buried their child and Angie throws herself over the burial spot.  

Crystal Chappell did an eerily convincing and raw portrayal of a woman under the influence … of drugs!  As “Days of Our Lives“‘s Dr. Carly Manning, her decent and depiction of a woman so alone and feeling so abandoned that she turns to injecting herself with painkillers and swallowing pills so out of control was stunning to watch. Chappell was so excited to be given a storyline. She was told would be similar to Nurse Jackie! With a plethora of scenes to choose from, Chappell went for the simple, straightforward, harrowing depiction of an addict trying to detox. With barely any dialog, and in the shortest reel of any leading performer in this years Emmy race, she aces this.  But is it enough to get her the gold?

General Hospital“’s Laura Wright gives what many feel are the most honest, straight-forward in-your-gut performances on daytime television. Remember, she won for the first time in this category last year, and if there is one thing we have learned about the Emmys, once you’re in the group … you’re in the group! As Carly Corinthos Jacks, Wright had the incredible feat on her reel of having to look sympathetic as a mother in desperate need to save her own child’s life, while her best friend, just lost his son. She had to ask if he can help her get his son’s kidney to save her daughter! Hankies. Wright also has one of the most poignant lines of writing in the Emmy submissions when Carly tells her son, Michael that she “wanted nothing more in this world than to keep him and his sister safe in this world.” Any voting member who is a mother may have checked the name Wright on their ballot after that heart-tugger!

And finally, this brings us to Heather Tom of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” who I am hearing many felt had the perfect reel. Perfect length, a beginning, middle, and end to her story arc and it was understandable! As Katie, who just suffered a heart attack, she confronts the woman threatening her marriage, and her husband.  he asks hubby Bill to make a choice, either the younger enticing Steffy, or her. At the end, she tells Bill, “You will have to beg for my forgiveness in order for me to take you back.” Strong words. Women voters either loved this. or didn’t. But there is no doubt that Heather is a real strong contender with this reel.

If she wins, Heather Tom will have won in all three acting categories; Younger, Supporting Actress and Lead.  Could this be a history making night?

WHO WILL WIN:  Erika Slezak
SPOILERS: Morgan, Wright, Chappell, Tom (How’s that for telling you how close this is?)

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