How did Amelia Heinle (‘Young and Restless’) beat co-star Elizabeth Hendrickson at Daytime Emmys?

Our predictors had pegged Best Supporting Actress at the Daytime Emmys as a two-way race between frontrunner Jane Elliot (“General Hospital“) and strong challenger Elizabeth Hendrickson (“The Young and the Restless“). But despite fourth-place odds, Hendrickson’s co-star Amelia Heinle overtook them both. What pushed her over the top?

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Heinle and Hendrickson both submitted episodes involving the death of young Delia Abbott in a hit-and-run accident. It was a popular storyline with voters, also resulting in wins for Best Actor (Billy Miller) and Best Drama Series.

Hendrickson’s episode had greater impact; she played Delia’s mother the moment after finding out about her death, and such intensity is often the key to winning Emmys. As we’d expect from a grieving mother, Hendrickson spends much of her reel crying, but voters often look for performances that demonstrate not only strong impact but also a wide range of emotions.

Heinle’s character is slightly removed from the tragedy (she plays Delia’s stepmother rather than her birth mother), so it seemed she was at risk of being overshadowed by Hendrickson’s tour de force. However, her scenes also balanced her tears with quieter, more subdued emotions, especially when she has to hold back to support her husband (Miller, who submitted scenes from the same episode to win his Best Actor trophy).

Heinle also has a long history in daytime television. Similar to Laura Wright (“General Hospital”), who won Best Actress on her first try in 2011 after years of unrecognized work on multiple soaps, Heinle is a veteran of “Y&R,” “All My Children,” and “Loving,” going all the way back to 1993, without a single nomination until now. Might voters have rallied around the overdue actress?

In contrast to the “Y&R” women, frontrunner Jane Elliot’s episode was full of romantic longing, but her character’s desire to find true love might not have had the dramatic urgency to overtake a pair of grieving mothers. It also seems that the academy just didn’t like “GH” this year.

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“GH” was surprisingly snubbed from Writing Team, Directing Team, and Drama Series races, and despite 18 total nominations it ended up with just two Creative Arts wins – Casting Director and Makeup – fewer than any other drama, including canceled online soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” both of which won three.

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