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, Kate Mansi (“Days of Our Lives”) is nominated for the first time as Abigail Deveraux, a role she played from 2011 to her exit from the series in 2016. Looking to win on her first try, Mansi submitted scenes in which she suffers a mental breakdown after being terrorized by a killer. Watch her reel above.
The scene opens with a flirtatious Abigail seducing Ben (Robert Scott Wilson), but whenever his back is turned her look of desire gives way to disgust. He’s a psychopath and a serial killer, and she’s only seducing him to distract him and keep him away from her baby. When they’re upstairs in the bedroom we see she’s gotten the upper hand. He’s tied to the bed and she douses him with lighter fluid so she can burn him to death, but her husband Chad (Best Actor nominee Billy Flynn) arrives and puts out the fire. She’s furious that he stopped her from killing her tormentor.
In the next scene Abigail has calmed down enough to explain to Chad exactly what happened: how she was protecting her son, how she stabbed Ben and tried to burn him alive so that he would feel the pain he has made her and her loved ones feel.
But even after Ben has been locked away for his crimes Abigail remains traumatized. Chad asks her to commit herself to a psychiatric facility, but even there she doesn’t feel safe, and she begs Chad to take her home. Eventually she agrees to sign the commitment papers, but she insists that it’s only for the sake of her son.
In the last scene Abigail is in a hospital bed. There has been a fire, and she might have set it. Her brother J.J. (Casey Moss), a police officer, tells her that if she’s proven guilty she might be transferred to a more secure facility. “My god J.J.,” she says, “am I really that dangerous?”
Will Mansi win Best Supporting Actress with this performance against Stacy Haiduk (“The Young and the Restless”), Anna Maria Horsford (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Finola Hughes (“General Hospital”) and Kelly Sullivan (“Y&R”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
You couldn’t ask for more emotional range than is on display in this submission. She goes from flirtatious, to disgusted, to maniacal, to regretful, to desperate, and finally she’s even afraid of herself. She gets big crying moments as well as quieter, more nuanced moments. It’s a full spectrum of emotions.
The way Mansi balances the flirtation and horror of the very first scene when she’s forced to take a killer to bed hooks the viewer immediately with her layered portrayal.
Abigail’s tearful speech to Chad not only serves as helpful exposition but gives Mansi the opportunity to tackle a powerful monologue.
The scene in the mental hospital doesn’t showcase the biggest emotions, but it may be Mansi’s finest moment. The quiet desperation she expresses as she begs to be taken home, and then a compliant smile that barely conceals her despair as she’s pulled away from Chad by her doctors — fantastic.
The emotions run high in this submission — too high? Even with its more subdued second half some voters may feel overwhelmed and choose a more understated reel.
Mansi left “Days” last June, and the role was eventually recast. Having been off her show for nearly a year, has she been out of sight and out of mind too long even with a strong submission?
This is Mansi’s first Emmy bid, and at age 29 she’s by far the youngest nominee. She’s up against a couple of acting vets (Horsford and Hughes) who may be considered more due for the award.
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