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 Actor, Vincent Irizarry (“Days of Our Lives”) is nominated for the first time for playing Deimos Kiriakis, a role he originated in 2016. He’s a recent addition to “Days,” but he’s a daytime veteran with three past nominations: Best Younger Actor in 1986 for “Guiding Light,” Best Actor in 2002 for “All My Children,” and finally a win for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for “AMC.” Looking to win his first Emmy in the lead category, Irizarry submitted scenes involving his complex romance with Nicole (Arianne Zucker) and a huge secret she has kept from him. Watch his reel above.
The bulk of Irizarry’s submission deals with a shocking revelation from Nicole: that Deimos is the father of a baby being carried by Chloe, who lied about the paternity to protect the child from him. Deimos at first is overjoyed at the news that he will soon be a parent, but then he discovers that Nicole has known the truth for months and kept it from him. She pleads for forgiveness, but he’s furious.
In the next scene Deimos visits Nicole. He has been presumed dead and Nicole is suspected to have killed him, so she needs him to return home with her to clear her name. He agrees, but only if she opens up about her true feelings for him. He wants a second chance at life with her. The reel ends with a brief scene of Deimos playing the piano while Nicole embraces him.
Will Irizarry win Best Actor with this performance against Peter Bergman (“The Young and the Restless”), Scott Clifton (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Billy Flynn (“Days”) and Kristoff St. John (“Y&R”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
At more than 16 minutes, this is the longest reel in the category, giving Irizarry more time to impress Emmy judges than his competitors.
The scene that opens the reel is by itself 10 minutes long. It’s an emotional two-hander between Irizarry and Zucker that allows him to cycle through a broad spectrum of emotions — joy, disbelief, indignation and heartbreak — before angrily walking away from Nicole.
Irizarry shrewdly follows that angry confrontation with a scene in which he expresses romantic longing as Deimos professes his love for Nicole and his desire to reform. That gives voters a chance to see a different side of the character and a different side of Irizarry’s acting ability.
Irizarry has been working in soaps for more than 30 years, but this is only his fourth Emmy nomination. Voters may consider him underappreciated and give him the gold.
This reel has the most tangled storyline, involving paternity tests, a faked death, and Deimos’s various misdeeds. It’s difficult to piece it all together if you don’t already know the whole story, so some voters may find it confusing.
The second scene gives the reel an uplifting emotional payoff, but the time line is unclear, so it’s challenging to understand the status of Deimos and Nicole’s relationship from one scene to the next, which makes it more difficult for viewers to emotionally invest.
“Days” has had a tough time in this category over the years. No one from this series has won Best Actor since Macdonald Carey claimed back-to-back honors in 1974 and 1975. Can Irizarry end the show’s 42-year drought?
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