Michael Easton is nominated for his first Daytime Emmy for playing Dr. Hamilton Finn on “General Hospital.” He introduced the character in 2016, but it’s actually the fourth character he has played on the show in six years. He previously starred on “One Life to Live” as John McBain and brought that character over to “GH” upon “OLTL’s” cancellation. Then he played Stephen Clay (the “Port Charles” character he played from 2001-2003) and his twin brother Silas Clay. And finally Finn was created a few months after Silas was killed off. So it was a long and winding road to get Easton to the Emmys in 2018. The winners will be announced on April 29, but they’ve already been decided in the drama acting categories by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels. Watch Easton’s submission above.
In the first scene Finn has been taped to a chair by Hayden Barnes (Rebecca Budig) according to his own wishes. He’s detoxing from a drug called Zen-Zen and doesn’t want to be released until he’s through his withdrawal, but it’s too much for him to handle, so he begs her to cut him free.
In the next scene Finn and Hayden are surprised to learn that Hayden is pregnant, but neither is sure that they’re ready to be parents. Later the two of them argue; Finn believes they can get through it, but Hayden walks out on him. And in the final scene Finn has been enlisted in an operation Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) is running against Cassandra Pierce (Jessica Tuck), but Finn can’t stop thinking about Hayden, who has left town and led him to believe that she lost their baby. He wonders if he could have saved the child if only she’d stayed.
Will Easton win Best Actor with this performance against John McCook (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Billy Miller (“GH”), James Reynolds (“Days of Our Lives”), and Peter Bergman (“The Young and the Restless”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
Easton hits the ground running with his opening scene in which he suffers from intense withdrawal symptoms. It’s the longest scene on the reel and gives the usually understated actor the chance to show Emmy voters the kinds of big emotional fireworks they usually gravitate to.
In addition to his withdrawal scene, Easton gets to play a lightly comic scene in which Finn and Hayden learn about her pregnancy, and then he expresses longing for her as their relationship deteriorates and after she leaves.
All of Easton’s scenes involve Finn’s relationship with Hayden, so there’s a consistent emotional thread running through the entire reel.
Easton’s soap opera career has spanned four shows (“PC,” “OLTL,” “GH” and “Days of Our Lives” in the early 1990s), so he has had relationships with many in the industry. Now that he’s finally nominated his peers in the TV academy may feel he’s due for a win.
This is one of the shortest reels in the category at just over seven minutes, and because it includes four scenes Easton doesn’t get much time to play any one scene until it cuts to the next.
Easton has played high-profile soap roles almost continuously for almost two decades, but he wasn’t nominated before now. Perhaps voters don’t respond as strongly to his subdued style when compared to actors who deliver showy performances from beginning to end.
There are story details that aren’t clearly established within the reel, particularly the cause of the argument between Finn and Hayden, and Finn’s involvement in the operation against Cassandra. Voters may have difficulty investing in his performance without more contextualizing scenes.
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