In the Daytime Emmy race for Best Younger Actor, Hudson West is nominated for playing Jake Webber on ABC’s “General Hospital,” a role he has played since 2016. It is the 11-year-old actor’s first career nomination, and if he wins he will be the youngest actor ever to prevail in this category. But the winners have already been decided in the drama acting categories by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels. Will West’s submission help him make Emmy history? Watch it above.
The reel begins with Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Drew (Best Actor nominee Billy Miller) telling Jake that Drew is not actually Jake’s father as they all believed, but his biological uncle. Jake is heartbroken by the news and tells Drew that he doesn’t want any other father except him. Elizabeth and Drew try to calm Jake, and Drew promises Jake that he will always be a part of his life. But Jake clings to Drew and says Drew will always be his dad.
The second half of the reel features Jake dealing with the trauma of being held captive on Cassadine Island. Jake confides in his father that he feels ashamed that he didn’t act when he witnessed an act of violence during his captivity. Later Jake has a session with Dr. Maddox (Best Supporting Actor nominee Anthony Montgomery), who engages Jake in a game of word association. Jake becomes nearly catatonic when asked about Cassadine Island, but Maddox assures him that he is safe.
Will West win Best Younger Actor with this performance against Lucas Adams (“Days of Our Lives”), Casey Moss (“Days”), Tristan Lake Leabu (“The Young and the Restless”) and Rome Flynn (“The Bold and the Beautiful”)? Let’s examine the pros and cons of his submission.
The reel opens with a scene of devastating emotional impact when Jake is heartbroken by the news about his father. West’s performance is affecting, particularly when he cries in Drew’s arms. The scene brims with genuine emotion, which is likely to grab the attention of voters.
Throughout his submission, West vividly portrays the lingering effects of trauma. During his scenes with both Miller and Montgomery, West shows that Jake is haunted by what he has gone through, and his expressions of pain and distress engender a great deal of sympathy.
Despite his youth, West is an experienced actor, with credits including roles in shows like “Grace and Frankie,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” These credits, combined with his ability to hold his own opposite an experienced veteran like Miller, could certainly win West the respect of voters.
The scenes in West’s submission are not edited together in chronological order, which makes it difficult to follow the emotional context of some scenes. For instance, there is a short scene in which Drew suddenly begins choking Jake, which is a dream sequence, but that’s never made clear. Voters may be drawn to a submission with a more cohesive narrative through-line.
Even though the category is called Best Younger Actor, children rarely win here. The youngest champ, the late Justin Gocke, was just 12-years-old when he won for “Santa Barbara” in 1989. And since 2000 every winner in this category has been in his 20s. Could that be a sign that voters are reluctant to reward someone so young?
Despite the reel’s emotional beginning, West has very little dialogue in his subsequent scenes and is shown mostly reacting to others trying to help him. In fact, the final minutes of the submission are dominated not by West, but by Montgomery as his therapist. Could West be hurt by not having a more substantial presence in his submission?
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