This year’s 10 pre-nominees for Best Actor at the Daytime Emmys include the defending champion, Anthony Geary (“General Hospital“). He’s already by far the most awarded soap opera actor with eight wins to date (next in line are Erika Slezak and Justin Deas with six apiece), but if he wins for the ninth time he’ll achieve an even bigger record by tying Cloris Leachman as the most awarded actor in Emmy history, Daytime or Primetime.
Geary might also be the sentimental favorite. After playing the iconic role of Luke Spencer on and off since 1978, the 68-year-old actor decided to leave the show last year, so the TV academy may decide to give him a farewell hug for his decades of work.
His first Best Actor Emmy came in 1982. There was a long gap between that victory and his next, but then the floodgates opened and he won seven more times in the last 16 years (1999, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015).
But Geary isn’t the only past winner hoping to add to his haul. His “GH” co-star Maurice Benard is aiming to finally add a bookend to his 2003 Best Actor prize; that was his only victory out of seven nominations for playing mobster Sonny Corinthos, despite having starred on the show since 1993.
“GH” has one other pre-nominee: Tyler Christopher, who has played Nikolas Cassadine since 1996 (except for a stretch from 1999-2003 when the role was played by another actor). In that time, however, Christopher has only picked up three Emmy nominations, and he has yet to win. If he’s nominated this year it would be his first bid in the lead category.
“The Young and the Restless” dominated the pre-nominations with 23 actors cited in the six categories, and this race is no exception. “Y&R” has five out of the 10 actors represented here; they’ve won an impressive seven Emmys between them, though that’s fewer than Geary has won all by himself.
Christian LeBlanc has won Best Actor three times (2005, 2007, 2009) as lawyer Michael Baldwin, and he’s been nominated a total of 11 times. Kristoff St. John has won two Emmys for playing Neil Winters, and he has earned nine nominations over the course of his career, but he has never contended in the lead category.
Doug Davidson has played Paul Williams on “Y&R” since 1978, and Eric Braeden has played Victor Newman on the show since 1980, but despite their combined 73 years on the show they’ve only won one Emmy apiece: Braeden prevailed in this race in 1998, and Davidson finally ended his decades-long drought in 2013.
The last “Y&R” pre-nominee is relative newcomer Justin Hartley, who took over the role of Adam Newman in 2014 and has yet to be nominated for an Emmy.
“The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Days of Our Lives” have one pre-nomination apiece. Representing “B&B” is Thorsten Kaye, who assumed the role of Ridge Forrester in 2013; he has four previous Best Actor nominations for his work on “Port Charles” and “All My Children.” Billy Flynn competes for “Days.” He took over the role of Chad DiMera in 2014, and he has yet to be nominated for an Emmy; at age 30 he’s the youngest actor in this category.
These pre-nominations were determined by eligible peer judges who were sent an online ballot containing all entrants in the lead and supporting performer categories. Those judges were required to view and evaluate clips containing each performer’s work before selecting their top 10 performer choices.
Those who made the cut now advance to the blue ribbon screening round, beginning February 22. That round of voting will determine the final nominees in each category, and also the winners. All nominations will be announced on Thursday, March 24 with the winners unveiled on Sunday, May 1.
Make your Daytime Emmy predictions starting with Best Drama Actor to the right or at the bottom of this post.
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Photo credits: Anthony Geary by ABC