Having seen only most of Jonathan Jackson's reel and Jason Thompson's when they originally aired, I didn't seen how anyone could compete with Jackson for the win, but I put all that aside to judge this category, so here goes.
First off, I chose the reels at random and I will list them in the order watched.
BILLY MILLER (Billy Abbott, The Young and the Restless.)
Air date: 9/27/10 TRT: 13:04 Episode: #9492:
The episode starts off with Victoria experiencing pains and she and Billy go to the hospital to have it checked. Ultrasound shows no heartbeat and she will have to return to the hospital the following day for a procedure. Miller's facial expressions convey more than any words, he's trying to hold it together.
Later they go back to their house and I thought a discussion of their relationship or the miscarriage would occur, as Victoria tells him he doesn't have to be brave. I was waiting for a breakdown of some sort, but then Nikki comes to the house and discusses Victoria's argument with Victor, which may have led to the miscarriage. Miller then leaves to confront Victor and I thought the reel would finally kick in.
It doesn't. Despite a solid performance by Miller, Eric Braeden clearly upstages Miller, who I know can hold his own against EB, but doesn't in this reel.
I kept waiting for something in this reel to happen, but nothing ever did. A solid Emmy-winning actor, but this was not an Emmy reel.
JASON THOMPSON (Dr. Patrick Drake, General Hospital.)
Air date: 8/24/10 TRT: 10:06 Episode #12127
As I previously said, I saw this episode when it originally aired, but was more blown away by Kimberly McCullough as opposed to Thompson, who I have never felt was a strong actor. But, I watched the reel closely to analyze Thompson's performance and came away impressed.
In the episode, Lisa returns Emma to the house and is thrown out, leading Patrick to finally admit to Robin that he slept with Lisa. His mannerisms before and after the reveal were subtle, yet effective, as you could tell he was clearly struggling and scared of losing Robin. I was surprised at the nuanced performance he gave.
While a strong reel with potential, Kimberly, a former two-time Emmy winner herself, clearly steals the show from this point forward and it becomes more of a reel for her then for him. His performance was not showy, but was very strong. I liked it.
BRIAN KERWIN (Charlie Banks, One Life to Live.)
Air Date: 1/4/10: TRT: 9:18 Episode #10592
The reels begins with Brody trying to get Charlie to go to AA and telling him he will tell Viki about Charlie's return to the bottle if he doesn't seek help. When Brody tells Charlie he is like a father to him, Charlie erupts, as the comment hits too close to home too soon after losing his son. It was a controlled and seasoned eruption by a three-time nominee, who has yet to take home the Gold.
The rest of the episode deals with Charlie telling Viki about his drinking and six-time Emmy winner Erika Slezak delivers a strong (no surprise here) supporting performance, allowing Kerwin to have his reel. Viki tells Charlie that she has failed him, but Charlie says he is the one who failed. He holds it together - no histronics - but clearly stands strong in the episode.
A good reel, but not out of the ball park and with no real money shot.
DOUG DAVIDSON (Paul Williams, The Young and the Restless.)
Air Date: 5/11/10 TRT: 9:50: Episode #9395
Paul is with Patty in the mental hospital where she is threatning to kill herself and is clearly unhinged. Paul, throughout the course of the episode, is trying to talk her out of it.
You feel Davidson's natural, effortless emotion right from the start of the episode and his performance clearly affected me and had me in tears throughout.
As he pleads with Patty to not use the syringe, he tries to recall happier childhood memories the two shared to bring her back to reality. His pleads continued after Jack and Emily (in a jarring edit that didn't effect the overall reel) finally succeed, especially when he begs her not to give up on her faith. The final scenes are with Heather after Patty is taken to jail and while Paul doesn't completely breakdown, his emotions are palpable and real. He didn't need a total collapse to convey his utter devastation. The rest of the episode did it for him. Exceptional work and the first reel where the nominee was completely in charge of the reel he submitted.
JONATHAN JACKSON (Lucky Spencer, General Hospital.)
Air Date: 1/25/10: TRT: 17:10 Episode #11979
The most talked about reel of the season, Lucky completely loses it as he discovers his fiancee and half-brother have been sleeping together.
The episode starts with a bang and never lets up to the end as Jackson shows why he already has three Emmys on his mantle, albeit in the Younger category and more than a decade ago.
Though Lucky is drunk, Jackson still maintains control for the scenes and comes out with all guns blazing, which makes the reel even more compelling. The dialouge is real and emotional and you feel almost ashamed at watching this performance, like you are spying into the private lives of your next door neighbor. There is that much depth to it.
Unlike all but Davidson, Jackson is allowed to dominate the reel, while his castmates Elizabeth Herbst, Tyler Christopher and later Anthony Geary allow him to have his moment, especially at the end when Lucky goes to Luke's club and discusses relationships with his father and tells him how much he loved Elizabeth, which shows a totally different side to the betrayal.
My only qualm with the reel is that the dialouge becomes a little repetitive and the reel could be about 4-6 minutes shorter as the same material was gone over a little too much.
Obviously from the get go, this was Jackson's trophy to lose and with the exception of Davidson - none of the others nominees submitted a reel that could truly contend. I was extremely impressed tho with Davidson's choice and it was the one reel that had me truly absorbed from beginning to end. Jackson's was a tour de force, but like I said it became a little too much, dialouge wise, which was no fault of Jackson's. Thompson was great and I can see why he got nominated and Kerwin was solid. Miller, however, IMHO, had no right in this category, despite the fact that he is the reigning champion. I feel Jackson will triumph on Emmy night, but Davidson is certainly still in the running and could be the spoiler.
2. butohso close Davidson
I feel bad for Davidson- when I saw this episode, I knew he'd probably submit it for Emmy consideration. He's a true supporting actor and any other year, he'd have walked away with the trophy. Such a shame.
That said, I don't think anyone can compete with Jackson's reel, though I sort of feel he should have had the balls to submit in Lead, which he would have taken anyway. From what I've read and seen of those reels, none of them submitted a dynamite reel that packs a punch like this one did.
After seeing the Lead Actor reels, while Park, Scott, and even Benard are strong, Jackson would have walked away the clear winner. I think he actually went supporting to send the votes Benard's way and it's going to be for naught. That race is between Scott and Park and while Benard has an outside chance, I don't see him winning against the other 2 gentleman. In a perfect world, Jackson would be walking away with his first Lead Actor trophy, following in the footsteps of his onscreen dad, and Davidson would be walking away with his first Emmy period, in the Supporting category that he truly belongs in.
I'm still pissed that Eric Sheffer Stevens and Trent Dawson weren't nominated. Dawson especially because I think he submitted Henry's wedding to Vienna which was an excellent reel- it had everything- comedy, drama, Drunk Henry- he should have friggin won with that! Well, if it weren't for Jackson that is.
Yeah. I agree. I thought Dawson was a shoo-in and his reel was certainly better than Millers's and Kerwin's. As for ESS, I wanted him to get a nod, but wasn't sure he had a killer reel, but again, better than those other two i just mentioned.
I feel so different about this race. Obviously, I think Jackson is in the lead, but I have Brian Kerwin second. I didn't see anything Emmy worthy about Doug Davidson's reel and found it to be almost without genuine emotion.
"Hearts are often broken
When there are words unspoken
In your soul there's answers to your prayers"- Whtiney Houston, Exhale
VERY last minute thoughts on this race (THANKS to Alatwt for trading reels with me!):
Everyone's been waiting a year and a half for Jonathan Jackson to get this Emmy, and he very likely will. I agree with the consensus, his reel confrontation his cheating fiancee and her lover, his own brother, was a magnificent piece of work. Tons of emotion, good range, highs and lows, yelling, crying, sulking, it's all there and all so effective. BUT. Doug Davidson is pretty incredible in his reel as well. These two reels clearly set themselves ahead of the rest of the pack, and I think it's a huge achievement for Davidson that he made himself competitive. A win for him would surprise me great, but it's the only other outcome I can imagine in this category.
Dont' get me wrong though, the other three are good as well. For me, Billy Miller is next in line. His reel doesn't provide as much meat for him to work with as one might have expected from a summary of what happens, but I think he really does an excellent job of holding the subtle emotions and the slightly efforted charm he puts forth in the Billy/Victoria scenes. Jason Thompson and Brian Kerwin come in a little even for me, but I think Thompson comes out the stronger of the two. Both are outperformed by their respective scene partners Kimberly McCollough and Erika Slezak, but Kerwin's reel doesn't have quite the same impact. Both do a fine job, but Thompson's material, while a little less interesting, packed more of an emotional punch.
Rankings (for both should and will, I think they're the same):
I found this category hard to rank because all of the performances were good.
1. Jonathan Jackson
2. Doug Davidson
3. Brian Kerwin
4. Billy Miller
5. Jason Thompson
I kind of perfer Davidson's controlled less showy performance over Jackson's. Davidson's reel was truly a supporting reel to Stacy Haiduk performance. The other three were fine as well and I don't even like to rank them. Miller does a great job going head to head with Braeden but nothing much else happens. Thompson has some very great facial expressions admitting the truth to Robin and it is really McCullough's reel but he supports her performance.