I was among the GoldDerby posters who screened the sample episodes submitted by the nominees for Best Actress at the Daytime Emmys, which air this Sunday night, June 19, on CBS, and I think Colleen Zenk (“As the World Turns”) is way ahead. She contends against Alicia Minshew and Debbi Morgan (“All My Children”), Susan Flannery (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Laura Wright (“General Hospital”), and Michelle Stafford (“The Young and the Restless”), and though most of us believe Zenk is the frontrunner, she's not a lock.
At the Daytime Emmys, a popular vote selects two actors from each eligible drama series as “pre-nominees,” who then submit sample episodes that determine the nominees and winners. Zenk submitted an emotional episode full of impact and range, in which her character, Barbara Ryan, marries a much younger man while trying to overcome the memory of her evil ex-husband.
Zenk, who lost both her previous bids for her work on the now-cancelled show, faces stiff competition from Flannery, who has won Best Actress three times for "B&B" (2000, 2002, 2003) and submitted an episode that also earned nods for Best Writing, Best Directing, and Best Drama. In it, her character, fashion mogul Stephanie Forrester, meets a young homeless woman on the streets of LA and finally decides to undergo treatment for her stage-4 lung cancer. "B&B" is considered the favorite to win the top prize for this episode, so even though it's “more of a showcase for the directors than it is for Flannery,” according to juniorz1, the overall popularity of the actress and her submission cannot be underestimated.
My fellow GoldDerby editor Matthew Cormier not only thinks Flannery will win, he ranks Zenk all the way down in fifth place, arguing that Zenk's submission is “a bit light” and “left no true emotional impact.” However, BTN praises Zenk, saying that her episode presents “a complete character not just an event or trauma.” Juniorz1 says it's “wonderful, sweet, lovely” and “packed quite a wallop.” Two other actors seem to have an outside chance of winning. Morgan, playing Dr. Angie Hubbard on "AMC," submitted a reel where her character is panic-stricken over her loss of eyesight. Juniorz1 calls her performance “very strong and at times amazing,” and BTN says her performance “hits you like a ton of bricks,” but actors' episodes are edited down to only their scenes, and Morgan's is the shortest in her category, clocking in at a scant six minutes. Though it packs a punch, it may not be enough to prevail in the lead race.
Stafford is a two-time winner for "Y&R," prevailing in the supporting category in 1997 and then in the lead category in 2004. In her submission, her character, Phyllis, takes her husband to task for his obsession with another woman. BTN credits her with “a lot of range” and calls it “one of her better submissions,” though he ranks her dead last. Juniorz1 calls her a “dark horse,” though he criticizes her reel for being front-loaded with flashbacks.
Wright and Minshew are on the outside looking in. Though Wright is a twenty-year soap veteran, this is her first nomination. She plays Carly on "GH" and submitted an episode where her son is sent to prison; BTN argues that “it doesn't really deliver.” Minshew, playing Kendall Hart (a role that won Sarah Michelle Gellar an Emmy in 1995) on "AMC" doesn't fare much better. She's “not nearly strong enough to take on the rest [of the competition],” according to juniorz1.
Are we underestimating Minshew or Wright? Do you think Morgan will pull off an upset? Does Zenk have this category in the bag, or will Flannery add another trophy to her mantel? Visit our forums and chime in.