Dan J. Kroll: Matthew Ashford, "Days of Our Lives" Bradford Anderson has been nominated for an Emmy two times previously. He's a fine actor, but I have to suspect that voters who are not familiar with "General Hospital" don't understand why Spinelli speaks the way he speaks. Fast-forward to this year when Bradford's character talked like a black-and-white movie gumshoe throughout the reel. The conversation between Spinelli and Maxie was interesting and certainly unlike anything else in recent Daytime Emmy history. Oddly missing from the reel was a final scene. According to the soapcentral.com recaps for the episode, Spinelli placed a cupcake on Georgie's tombstone. That did not make it to the Emmy reel.
Usually actors and actresses turn in some of their best performances right after they receive word that they've been fired. I guess there's no longer that self-questioning involved -- you can go for it without any fear of, well, being fired. Matthew Ashford was still very much gainfully employed at "Days of Our Lives" when his Emmy reel episode aired, but he was let go shortly thereafter. "DOOL" gets a bad rap sometimes for not being a "serious" soap. Matthew Ashford's Jack was averse to talking to Marlena about the time he spent held prisoner in Afghanistan. She eventually got him to open up, and later, as the painful memories returned, it provided some gripping television. Matthew received very strong backup from Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) in the scenes.
Sean Blakemore could very well sneak in and win this category. The ease with which he delivered his lines made it look like he was relating personal experience and not delivering scripted lines. There was a certainly relevancy to the material that wasn't necessarily reflected in anyone else's material. Shawn revealed that he'd been responsible for the friendly fire death of another soldier. As if that wasn't enough, as a child, Shawn also witnessed his father's murder.
Jonathan Jackson is a phenomenal actor. Let there be no mistaking that. I think I may be comparing Jonathan's performance in this year's reel to the one that won him an Emmy last year. I know that's not the way you're supposed to vote, but it's hard to unring a bell. Jonathan's reel -- as just about every GH-related submission -- had to do with Luke's drinking and the death of little Jake. Anything that Jonathan and Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) do is magical. There was a powerful confrontation in the episode that really sealed the deal.
Jason Thompson's reel was understated, poignant, and -- at times -- silly. The chemistry between Jason and Kimberly McCullough (Robin Scorpio) was wonderful, and I liked the the episode was "real." Patrick recorded a video to his daughter, who had fallen asleep before she could celebrate her birthday with him. There was playful banter between Patrick and Robin, but also a poignancy that made me wish that I had a video from my parents. I didn't pick this reel as the one that I think will win, but I most certainly would not be surprised if it did.
Nelson Branco: Jonathan Jackson, "General Hospital"
Why anyone submits himself in this category with Jonathan Jackson in this race is mind-boggling. Last year’s winner will take this trophy again. No contest. Like his on-screen father, Tony Geary, Jackson is on his way to becoming the most feted daytime actor -- and he’s only 30! Jackson will earn his fifth Emmy this year (he’s won three Younger; one Supporting for the same role). Even with three "GH" actors competing, Jackson is in no danger of splitting the vote.
The only nominee who could challenge Jackson’s second consecutive win in this category (and his second consecutive Emmy win overall; he won twice in a row in Younger Actor) is "DOOL"'s Matthew Ashford, who earned his first nomination in 30 years of being on daytime. Ashford coming to terms with Jack’s post-traumatic disorder after his character was kidnapped and held prisoner in Afghanistan was riveting. Though Ashford used to be on "GH" too, so perhaps voters will include him in the imagined split vote! Oh, I kid.