Daytime Emmys predictions: Alison Sweeney (‘Days’), Gina Tognoni (‘Y&R’) lead as women scorned

Alison Sweeney had never even been nominated for a Daytime Emmy before her Best Actress bid this year for “Days of Our Lives,” but damned if she doesn’t have what it takes to win it. She’s not the only one, though. Predict the correct outcome of this Emmy race (and 17 others) and you could win our contest. The user with the highest accuracy rate collects $100 and a place of honor on our leaderboards. (Make sure to read our complete contest rules.)

Actor | Actress | Supporting Actor | Supporting Actress
Younger Actor | Younger Actress | Special Guest Performer

Like their primetime counterpart, the Daytime Emmys are decided by judging panels viewing sample episode submissions. For the third year in a row, the TV academy has made these available online for public viewing. Below, watch Sweeney’s episode as well as those of her rival nominees and judge for yourself as to who should win. 


Sweeney submitted by far the longest reel in this category at 25 minutes, and she hits the trifecta for a winning Emmy submission: impact, range, and empathy.

Impact: She launches into a grand emotional tirade when she discovers that her fiance, EJ (James Scott) has cheated on her. When he accuses her of not being “rational,” that’s when the fireworks really begin.

Range: She transitions from happy to sad to unbelieving to rageful, showing a full spectrum of emotions. Late in the episode, it’s revealed that the entire confrontation had been imagined by EJ, but that gives us a chance to see Sami overjoyed about her upcoming nuptials and blissfully unaware about what he’s hiding.

Empathy: Of course, we feel for Sami when she reacts to her fiance’s infidelity, but it’s perhaps even more moving after we find out her discovery didn’t happen at all, and that she doesn’t know the secret that could blow apart her relationship. However, the fact that most of the episode turns out to be a fantasy sequence might hurt her; will voters give it as much weight knowing it was all happening in EJ’s head?

Our predictors think so. Four of six Experts, all five Editors, 21 of our Top 24 Users (the two dozen high scorers at predicting last year’s winners), and 65% of all Users predict that she will prevail giving her leading odds of 4/11.


Playing the role that earned Michelle Stafford two Emmys out of 10 nominations before she vacated the role in 2013, Gina Tognoni might suffer from how similar her reel is to Sweeney’s. Her character, Phyllis Newman, also confronts her fiance, Jack (three-time Emmy champ Peter Bergman), about his secret relationship with another woman, though under markedly different circumstances. Phyllis was in a coma at the time Jack strayed.

Despite the similarities, Tognoni delivers an equally effective performance. She’s one of the best criers in the business, and she has the hardware to prove it: she previously won two Supporting Actress Emmys for “Guiding Light.”

Our predictors certainly aren’t counting her out. Tognoni is backed by two of our Experts – Jamey Giddens (Daytime Confidential) and Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps) – and 6% of Users, giving her 11/2 odds.


We also shouldn’t count out Maura West, a two-time Emmy champ for “As the World Turns” now competing for her new role as Ava Jerome on “General Hospital.” She stands out from the pack with an episode that isn’t about an infidelity, which turns out to be this category’s prevailing theme. At first, her episode seems to be more a showcase for her scene partner Maurice Benard as Sonny, who is guilt-ridden about a crime he has committed, but West takes over when she explains that she’s had to carry the burden of her own sins.

The fact that her episode has a markedly different theme could work in her favor. Last year, Eric Martsolf (“Days”) won Supporting Actor by being the only man to submit an episode that wasn’t about baby drama.

Three of our Top 24 Users think West is out front: NoLogo, CeCe1991 and rafaeltxeira. So do 18% of all Users. She gets 12/1 odds overall.


Laura Wright surprised by winning this category in 2011, so we’d be foolish to rule her out with a performance reel as strong as she has. Her character, Carly, confronts Franco (Roger Howarth) after their aborted wedding because Franco has maliciously revealed her secrets to her son. Why did Franco do that? Because Carly – you guessed it – cheated on him. She has plenty of impact dressing down her sadistic fiance, though the scenes don’t showcase quite as wide a range of emotions as Sweeney’s and Tognoni’s.

She’s an underdog with 50/1 odds based on support from 6% of Users.


With a reel under five-minutes long, I wasn’t expecting the impact that Peggy McCay delivers in her “Days of Our Lives” submission. She plays Caroline Brady, who delivers a speech at her great-grandson Will’s wedding to his male partner, Sonny (Freddie Smith). Though her family wonders about her mental state as she tells a seemingly unrelated story about patrons at her bar, she turns it around to reveal that she’s really discussing what a tragedy it is when families don’t accept their gay children. It’s subtle, but it’s one of most undeniably heart-tugging moments for any actor in this category.

Nevertheless, McCay has 50/1 odds and support from just 4% of Users.

Last year, our top User was almostsideways, who predicted 60% of the winners. Gold Derby’s Editors and all Users were only right 30% of the time, while Experts scored 25%. If you think you too can outscore all other prognosticators, click here to make your predictions for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

But remember that coming out on top doesn’t just mean having the most correct predictions. You also have to use your three big bets (one of 500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a long shot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points. As we use those scores to break ties when more than one user tops our leaderboard with the same number of correct answers, don’t take them for granted.

For instance, if you think we’re dead wrong and expect McCay to win, you can place your 500-point bet on her at 50/1 odds, which would earn you 25,000 points if you’re right.

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After logging in, click on the “Predictions” button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.

We are forecasting everything from the results on reality TV shows like “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” to the winners of the Primetime Emmys and Billboard Music Awards.

Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.

You can also make or update your predictions below by dragging contestants from left to right in the order of their likelihood of winning. You can continue to update and change your predictions until the Creative Arts awards this Friday. Just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choices.

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