The 2017 Daytime Emmy Awards will be handed out on April 30, but the winners in the soap opera acting categories have already been decided by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels. In the race for Best Younger Actor, James Lastovic (“Days of Our Lives”) is nominated for the first time for playing Joey Johnson, a role he assumed in 2015. Aiming for his first victory, he submitted scenes in which Joey copes with his guilt over a murder. Watch his reel above.
In the first scene of Lastovic’s submission, Joey confesses to his father Steve (Stephen Nichols) that he has been in contact with Ava Vitali (Tamara Braun), whom he has developed a close bond with even though she has terrorized and manipulated his family. He tells his father how much Ava means to him, but in the very next scene on the reel Joey is smothering her to death with a pillow. He is overwhelmed and distraught by the grave act, and in the last scene he tells his father how haunted he is by his crime.
Will Lastovic win Best Younger Actor with this performance against Bryan Craig (“General Hospital”), Pierson Fode (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Tequan Richmond (“GH”) and Anthony Turpel (“B&B”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
The stakes are high, and Lastovic gives one of the showiest performances in this category, especially in his tearful first scene and then his distraught second scene depicting the murder.
The final scene on the reel is more subdued, allowing the actor to display more range while still showing the trauma and guilt of his deadly act. The fact that we’re still able to empathize with him after we’ve seen him take a life is a credit to his performance.
Perhaps some voters actually will feel less sympathy for him and struggle to connect with a killer — even a repentant one.
At under six minutes, this is the shortest reel in the category, which doesn’t give him as much time as his Emmy rivals to make an impression on voters.
After Joey expresses his affection for Ava in the first scene, it’s jarring to see him kill her immediately thereafter. Voters may wish to have seen more emotional context to bridge that gap and clarify Joey’s motivations.
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