Two of our top Experts at predicting the Daytime Emmys -- Nelson Branco (Soap Opera Uncensored) and Dan J. Kroll (Soap Central) -- have been battling about the winners of the Daytime Emmy Awards. They have already squared off over Best Drama Series, agreed on Best Actor and differed over Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
Now they turn their attention to Best Supporting Actress. In this category, Nelson predicts a first win for Rebecca Herbst ("General Hospital") while Dan expects Genie Francis ("Young and the Restless") to finally prevail.
Nelson Branco: Rebecca Herbst, "All My Children"
Supporting Actress is always the toughest race to call, which is why this category usually provides the most surprises. However, this year supporting actress is pretty easy to predict: Becky Herbst will finally win her first trophy as tortured heroine Liz Spencer.
Like her former on-screen mother-in-law Genie Francis, Herbst hasn’t been lauded as much as her on-screen super-couple partner, Jonathan Jackson, but this year will rectify that as voters were met with a deft, visceral portrayal of a woman trying to understand and accept the fact that her child was killed by her former father-in-law impossible to forget -- especially when Liz has to decide to give her dead baby child’s organs to her former lover’s kid. Dead babies are this year’s multiple personality. Not bad for an actress who was fired from her soap last year for not being pretty enough. (She won her job back thanks to the fans and the press’s ear-shattering outcry.)
Because of that, Herbst really has no competition other than her former "Port Chuck" co-star Genie Francis, who earned her third nomination but first nod for a non-"GH" role. Although her Genoa City character isn’t necessarily accepted or beloved by fans or many critics, Francis wisely chose one of her best-acted moments from last year when Gen admitted to Jack that her psycho ex-hubby was the only man she’d been with physically. It’s a beautifully restrained, maturely written and acted scene … the kind you rarely see on daytime.
This isn’t your mother’s Laura Spencer, that’s for sure! But maybe it’s too quiet to compete with a dead baby. However, let’s not forget that Francis has a lot of friends and fans in the industry due to her soap-hopping ("DOOL", "AMC," "GH," "Loving," etc.). This year, for the first time, the voting pendulum swung back to ABC’s side from CBS (three soaps VS. two soaps), which is why ABC earned the most noms this year, and Francis is the only CBS nominee who will stand the best shot of three networks voting for her.
As for "All My Children"'s Melissa Claire Egan and "Young and the Restless"’s Elizabeth Hendrickson, their reels were too similar and "General Hospital"'s Nancy Lee Grahn should be shot for handing in a Laura Wright reel!
Dan J. Kroll: Genie Francis, "Young and the Restless"
My love of loony soap ladies is legendary -- or some other "L" word that eludes me at the moment. Melissa Claire Egan did such a great job as Annie over the years. In my book, she should have won an Emmy back in 2009 when she was first nominated. To me, this year's submission wasn't as powerful as the one from 2009, but it did accomplish its goal. The scenes vividly portrayed Annie as a women unspooling.
Genie Francis delivered a surprisingly layered reel. The surprise has nothing to do with Genie's acting ability, but rather the sometimes questionable writing for newer characters on "The Young and the Restless." Genevieve played it cool when she was presented with divorce papers, but later fought back tears. When Jack dropped by later to celebrate the divorce, Genevieve pulled back from being intimate because her previous husband, Colin, was the only man she'd ever been intimate with. From there, there was a surprisingly candid discussion filled with all sorts of emotions.
If you've ever wondered if it's difficult to pick an Emmy reel, one soap star weighed in on that very subject. On Twitter, Nancy Lee Grahn remarked that she submitted her selected episode because it was "the only one I had." And quite an episode it was. Alexis tried to reason with Carly, but stood by calmly when Carly turned things on Alexis, saying that Alexis still had feelings for Carly's exes. When Carly was done, Alexis bitchily (yet understatedly) dropped her own bombshell: the divorce papers that Carly's late husband had never filed. By the end, I was rooting for Alexis -- and that may prompt voters to send some votes Nancy Lee's way.
The problem that comes with selecting a single episode for Emmy consideration is that sometimes not everything that is relevant can be submitted because it didn't air within the hour-long confines of a single episode, as Erika Slezak expressed in the Lead Actress category. Rebecca Herbst's work during the storyline surrounding the death of little Jake definitely warranted an Emmy. When I watched her Emmy reel, it was hard to shake loose that I knew the rest of her work outside of the seven-minute reel. The most powerful part of the episode involved no dialogue. Viewers saw Lucky inform Elizabeth that Jake had died, but it was done from a distance so all that was shown on-screen was Liz collapsing into Lucky's arms. It was incredibly emotional -- but it only told part of the story. Missing was the prelude to the accident, and the post-accident grief.
I was very torn when I watched Elizabeth Hendrickson's Emmy reel. I wanted her to smash something, slap somebody, or do something else spontaneously. Perhaps we've become accustomed to expecting some sort of craziness in an Emmy reel in order to slap a "winner" label on it. In the episode, Chloe learned that her daughter has been taken to the hospital -- and she wasn't initially reachable by phone because she was with a man at the time. Her worst fears became a reality when doctors revealed that the little girl was suffering from leukemia. When Chloe said that she wanted to fix it, I didn't get the "she doesn't know what's going on here" vibe; I felt as though Chloe was so deeply in shock that she didn't want to admit that Delia's condition was serious. Hendrickson did a great job of relating those feelings.
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