The Daytime Emmys were notoriously stingy to “One Life to Live,” the ABC soap that ultimately went off the air for good in 2013 after 45 years. That was illustrated by multiple actors from the show who got no Emmy love until the moment they left for another soap. Could the same thing happen for Kassie DePaiva, who starred on “OLTL” for two decades and then appeared on “Days of Our Lives” following “OLTL’s” cancellation. Now she’s a pre-nominee for Best Actress.
Playing Blair Cramer on “OLTL” from 1993-2013 only earned DePaiva a single Emmy nomination: Best Actress in 2005, an unusual year when there were eight nominees in that race (DePaiva’s co-star Erika Slezak ended up winning), but changing soaps might work out for her. Consider her “OLTL” on-screen sister Gina Tognoni, who was never even nominated during her seven years on the show but then won two Emmys when she moved to “Guiding Light.”
Then there was Emmy-darling Heather Tom, who won two Emmys for “The Young and the Restless,” but then lost both of her “OLTL” bids only to win another three times for “The Bold and the Beautiful.” And Kristen Alderson was ignored for more than a decade as Starr Manning on “OLTL” but then won as soon as she and her character were transferred to “General Hospital.”
DePaiva is one of three “Days” actors pre-nominated in this race. Joining her are Kate Mansi, who plays Abigail Deveraux and at 27-years-old is the youngest actress in this race, and veteran Mary Beth Evans, who has played Kayla Brady on and off since 1986. Neither has any previous Emmy nominations for acting, though Evans did win Best New Approaches Drama Series last year as a producer of the online series “The Bay.”
“GH” also had three pre-nominees for Best Actress, including the defending champ in the category, Maura West, who plays Ava Jerome. West has only played Ava since 2013, but before that she was an Emmy-darling for her 15-year role as Carly Tenney on “As the World Turns,” for which she won twice out of seven nominations.
Joining West are two other past Best Actress winners for “GH.” Laura Wright has played Carly Corinthos since 2005 and won once (in 2011) out of three nominations. And Finola Hughes won this award back in 1991 for her role as Anna Devane, whom she has played intermittently since 1985. That was her only win out of five total nominations; she contended last year, but in the supporting race.
“The Young and the Restless” has the most total pre-nominations this year with 23 actors represented across six categories, and they also have the most pre-noms in this race specifically, with four actors cited. That includes the aforementioned Tognoni, who now plays Phyllis Newman on the CBS soap following her Emmy-winning stint on “GL.” She was nominated for this role for the first time last year.
Like Tognoni, Eileen Davidson is pre-nominated for “Y&R” but is a past Emmy-winner for a different series: she won for “Days” in 2014. She created the role of Ashley Abbott on “Y&R” in 1982 and has played her at various times and on various shows, but her only past nomination for this role was in 2003.
Tracey E. Bregman is also a “Y&R” veteran, having played Lauren Fenmore since 1983. She won Best Younger Actress in 1985 and has four total nominations in younger and supporting categories, but she’s never contended in the lead contest.
Rounding out the category is Melissa Claire Egan, who joined “Y&R” as Chelsea Newman in 2011 following a stint on “All My Children.” Between the two shows, she has earned five Emmy noms for Best Supporting Actress, but she’s never been nominated in the lead contest, and she has yet to win in any 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.
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Photo credits: Kassie DePaiva by NBC