We judge Daytime Emmy races: Best Actress battle

Our forum posters are dedicated to the Daytime Emmy Awards. To predict the winners, they do just like the judges and watch all the episode submissions. Then they rank them. 

In the Best Actress race, they are divided about the likely winner, just like our Experts. Six-time champ Erika Slezak (“One Life to Live“), supporting winner Debbi Morgan (“All My Children“) and Emmy darling Heather Tom (“The Bold and the Beautiful“) all have their advocates. 

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Below is a sampling of their insightful commentary. Read their thorough analyses here


Debbi Morgan — What a performance! Debbi’s tour de force acting, over a classic soap opera plot, make for a magnificent emmy reel! She draws her acting fist back, swings, and packs a punch to the screen so hard, the brusies both she and Angie feel, are stuck with you as well.  

Erika Slezak — I really think alot of people are underestimating this Emmy reel. I will grant you, some of the parts were a bit hammy, but being the consummate professional she is, Erika takes average writing in certain parts, and soars over the enitre episode. With her reel clocking in by far the longest, this episode is well, produced, superbly directed, and yes, wait for it. … superbly acted. Erika gets to do her infamous split personality plot, but she also plays, triple roles, makes you laugh, root for her, and she carries the entire episode with pure ease. I remember when this episode aired, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her then, and I couldn’t this time, either.

Heather Tom — Heather’s acting gets better and better. I actually liked the heart attack episode better. But, in this reel, it really showcased her as an insecure wife, who’d just had a heart attack, after arguing with her husband’s mistress. With great quality writing and directing, Tom has proven, she has made a career in daytime, where she has quite literally and successfully grown from younger actress, to lead, with seemingly little difficulty.


If voting is done solely on the mertis of the submitted episode I believe Erika Slezak and Heather Tom are the most likely winners. Debbi Morgan’s tape doesn’t contain enough substance to win on it’s own. However, if other factors such as sentiment or a need to award based on entire careers than Morgan’s chances to win jump up in a big way. 

Now, I do think the fact that Slezak’s reel is 30 full minutes, by far the longest also gives her a massive head-up on her competition.   

I think one thing that we should consider, as unlikely as it may be is that Crystal Chappell may win simply because she submitted a tape so unique and unlike everybody elses. Vanessa Marcil won her Emmy (for supporting) in-part because her tape stood out as comedic in a sea of tear filled tapes from equally respectable competition. It is possible (although only slightly) that having a tape that in no way resembles the others (and contains over the top, big acting that Emmy likes) could make it a winning tape. It also doesn’t hurt that she has worked for all 3 networks and probably knows more people than anybody in the race. (Debbi Morgan also has worked for all 3 networks, however her work on NBC’s “Generations” was so long ago I doubt that is much effect).


I want to say that this crop of submissions is the WORST I’ve ever judged on goldderby. There’s only one performance worthy of even being nominated. I couldn’t believe how wretched these performances were.

1. Heather Tom — Far and away the best reel. Tom gives an emotional, but strong and effective performance as a woman who discovers her husband has been sleeping with another woman. She never goes over the top (something her co-nominees do) and the show allows her to express her anger, confusion, jealousy, and hurt without cutting away every 30 seconds. I do not watch “B&B” but I was completely drawn into Katie’s performance because Tom was so strong. Her work with the other woman was just completely engrossing, and I was sad when it ended. Her scenes with Diamont felt so real to me. I never saw Tom going overboard. This is what an Emmy reel should be. 

I don’t know how to place the other women because I found myself thinking, “What could Melody Thomas Scott possibly have submitted that was worse than this dreck?”

2. Crystal Chappell — It’s a nothing reel because it never gets started. She does an okay job as someone going through withdrawals, but the episode is only about six minutes, but the cuts happen ever 30 seconds. No momentum builds, and half of it is given over to the actor playing Nicholas, and he is not very good. He has very clunky dialogue.

3. Erika Slezak — UGH, what was she thinking? This reel is a confusing mess. I had no idea what was going on. I haven’t watched “OLTL” and a lot of this didn’t make any sense. I also didn’t know if it was meant to be taken seriously because if it is meant to be taken seriously, I have no words. Slezak is somewhat good at differentiating between the different roles, but for what point? The dialogue is awful, and parts of the reel are given over to Bree Williamson. The show couldn’t even edit down the show properly. The reel is about four and a half minutes longer than the time on the disc. I thought the show might be one of the Fraternity Row episodes I’d heard about it. I am stunned to discover it was not.


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