The 2017 Daytime Emmy Awards will be handed out on April 30, but the winners in the soap opera acting categories have already been decided by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels. In the race for Best Supporting Actress, Anna Maria Horsford (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is nominated for the second time as Vivian Avant, a role she originated in 2015. Looking to win for the first time, Horsford submitted a scene in which she learns that her marriage has been built on a lie. Watch her reel above.
Horsford’s reel consists of one extended scene. Vivian’s husband Julius (Obba Babatunde) confesses a secret he’s been keeping for decades: that he cheated on her years ago with their neighbor Lucy, and that the affair resulted in an illegitimate child, Sasha (Felisha Cooper). Vivian treated Sasha like family all her life, but Julius never liked having her around, and now Vivian knows why: he was a “coward” who was afraid his secret would get out.
Julius insists that he kept the secret to protect Vivian and their family, but Vivian calls him a liar. He didn’t keep the secret to protect the family, he did it to protect his own reputation regardless of what that meant for Vivian. She’s furious at the hypocrisy of how Julius rejected their transgender daughter Maya all the while hiding a secret love child. She screams at Julius to leave, and then she confronts Sasha for hiding the truth from her as well. But ultimately she breaks down and embraces both her daughter Nicole (Younger Actress nominee Reign Edwards) and Sasha for comfort.
Will Horsford win Best Supporting Actress with this performance against Stacy Haiduk (“The Young and the Restless”), Finola Hughes (“General Hospital”), Kate Mansi (“Days of Our Lives”) and Kelly Sullivan (“Y&R”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
The reel consists of one extended scene that is easy to follow and invest in, and it presents a complete emotional arc in just 10 minutes.
Vivian is a shy, unassuming character, so it’s cathartic to watch her find her own voice, expressing outrage at how Julius has treated her and their daughter Maya: “You refused to acknowledge Maya’s suffering. I stood by you. I allowed you to throw my child away while you had this secret here in front of my eyes all these years?”
Horsford dials up the emotions gradually so that the reel doesn’t drown us in tears from beginning to end. As a result, the biggest outbursts towards the end pack an even bigger emotional punch.
The very last shot, which shows Horsford embracing both Nicole and Sasha, carries a lot of meaning: she’s angry at Sasha for lying all those years, but the embrace indicates forgiveness and perhaps an acknowledgement that they were both victims of Julius’s lies.
Horsford is a loved veteran. She hasn’t spent that long in the soap opera community, but her career includes impressive credits like her long-running sitcom “Amen” (1986-1991) as well as recurring roles in “The Shield,” “The District” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Last year she was nominated for Best Guest Performer but lost to her on-screen husband Babatunde. Now is the academy’s chance to make it up to her.
The scene builds slowly. The truth doesn’t dawn on Vivian until about two-and-a-half minutes in, so that limits the amount of time Horsford has to show off her dramatic skills.
For much of the scene Vivian reacts more passively while the focus is on Julius and his confession. Some voters may feel Babatunde’s performance overshadows Horsford at times.
“B&B” has only ever won this award once before (for Heather Tom in 2011). Will Horsford be able to break through despite a usual lack of support for this show for Best Supporting Actress?
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